ACLU files lawsuit against Nashville, state leaders after election missteps
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit against multiple Nashville defendants on behalf of one of hundreds of voters who cast the wrong ballot in Davidson County.
Metro Legal Director Wally Dietz announced the lawsuit shortly after a closed-door meeting with Metro Council. Dietz called the meeting into executive session to offer the councilmembers legal advice, he said.
Also in that meeting were potential fixes being done to this week’s election issues. More than 200 votes were cast incorrectly in Nashville’s redrawn congressional districts, according to elections officials. On Wednesday, Administrator of Elections Jeff Roberts said 190 ballots in the congressional districts were cast wrong, 16 in state senate races and six in state house races. A total of 212 votes cast wrong.
Dietz said Friday the issue, he believed, were glitches in geo-mapping software after this year’s redistricting.
Defendants in the lawsuit filed by the ACLU include the Davidson County Election Commission, Roberts, Gov. Bill Lee, Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett and Tennessee Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins.
“Those concerns are out there, that’s why the election commission is working around the clock, literally, to identify everyone whose been impacted by this,” Dietz said. “Look, these election officials here and around the country, most of them are real public servants. They are devastated that there’s a problem and they’re working really hard to fix it.”
Dietz says the election commission has identified the individuals who cast wrong ballots during early voting and the people who could run into the same problem Tuesday. They will all be given access to a provisional ballot if their ballot on the voting machine is incorrect.
“I feel as confident as I can that the fix is ready to go into place and it will address the issues,” Dietz said.
Councilmember Bob Mendes questioned why Friday’s meeting with Deitz was held in executive session. He walked out of the meeting.
“I feel strongly that the number one priority is not dealing with lawsuits or potential lawsuits. The number one priority is voter confidence for the election that is underway,” Mendes said. “I believe, I expressed in the meeting, that the election commission should be out front in public saying what the fixes are, not having lawyers do it.”
Metro Council was scheduled to hear from Election Commission Administrator Jeff Roberts, but that meeting was canceled in place of the executive session with Metro Legal.
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