NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, the League of Women Voters of Tennessee and the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee secured a court order to protect the right to vote of hundreds, if not thousands, of Davidson County voters who would have been unable to vote in the races for their districts on November 8 due to receiving incorrect ballots.
The order agreed to by the Secretary of State and the Davidson County Election Commission also provides a path for the two hundred or more early voters prevented from voting in the districts in which they reside to enter provisional ballots.
“Our very mission is to protect voting rights, so it is critical to us to ensure that all Davidson County residents have access to correct ballots,” said Debby Gould, president of the League of Women Voters of Tennessee. “We are pleased to have a voter-centric resolution ensuring that all Davidson County community members have an opportunity to be represented in our democracy.”
The lawsuit, League of Women Voters v. Davidson County Election Commission, was filed in the Chancery Court for Davidson County on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Tennessee and individual voters Anna Carella and Nella Frierson. The League was represented by the ACLU of Tennessee.
“Voting is essential to making our voices heard on issues we care about, and I now have that right back,” said plaintiff Anna Carella. “I am grateful that this problem has been fixed and that this will not happen to anyone else.”
“Today’s victory ensures that Tennesseans’ constitutional right to cast a ballot in the districts where they live is protected,” said ACLU-TN Legal Director Stella Yarbrough. “Davidson County voters can now rest assured that their voice and their values will be heard in this election.”
Redistricting splintered previous precincts in Davidson County, leading to some voters being grouped in the wrong districts.
The court order ensures that special paper ballots will be available for all who have been identified as residing in compromised districts, at both the correct and incorrect precinct locations; that the people who have already voted in the wrong district will have an opportunity to enter provisional ballots indicating who they would have voted for if they had voted in the right district, and that these provisional ballots will be consulted if the election is contested after the fact; that the state will conduct a full audit and review of the scope of the issue so that similar situations can be prevented in the future; and the Election Commission will preserve items such as the district maps originally in use during this election for future review.
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