Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Things Get Complicated In Nashville's Attempt to Reschedule Election Runoff

Nashville's City Paper today reports that things are becoming much more complicated for Davidson County Tennessee's Election Commission that is trying to reschedule Nashville's runoff primary election in September to avoid a conflict with the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. (See prior postings 1, 2.) The dispute began when two Jewish voters filed suit in federal court seeking a schedule change. Three days after the election commission agreed to reschedule the runoff, the Department of Law of Metro Nashville & Davidson County filed a petition to intervene in the lawsuit-- purportedly on behalf of Elections Administrator Ray Barrett-- to argue that the rescheduling is illegal. It says that the Metro Charter prescribes the original date that was set for the runoff. Now elections administrator Barrett has requested that the court issue a temporary restraining order to force Metro Legal Department to drop its attempt to intervene in his name. Part of the issue is whether Barrett is a state or county employee. State law set up his position, but the county pays his salary. Metro's law department claims that the county could be faced with heavy costs if a rescheduled runoff is later challenged and a new election is required to be conducted.