Council, voters take jab at state lawmakers pushing change to election process
Knoxville City Council members are also keeping an eye on a separate bill that would make local elections partisan.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A bill working its way through the Tennessee General Assembly brought city council members together for a special called meeting to seal their disapproval for SB0526.
Knoxville Republican Representative Elaine Davis sponsored the accompanying HB0817, which has the intent to change how voters elect city council candidates.
Each voter who spoke before city council during Wednesday night’s meeting unanimously backed the current council’s decision to inform state lawmakers to shut the bill down. Several people, including well-respected former council-member Theotis Robinson Jr., agreed that Knoxville’s active voting process is unique and if changed, would create pockets of disenfranchisement.
“It makes every voter a minority vote,” said Robinson.
Vice-Mayor Andrew Roberto said the meeting will send a message to state leaders.
“The way we manage our elections right now, is the same as it’s been for about 54 years,” said Roberto. “And you heard a lot of discussion this evening about you know, if there was a problem with it, then the citizens of Knoxville should be the ones who make those changes.”
In part of a statement to WVLT News , Rep. Davis said allowing a district’s nominee to be overruled by voters who live outside of the district is unacceptable and not the most fair process.
“Our communities deserve to be able to choose which elected officials they want to represent them. Unfortunately, there are places that allow a district’s nominee to be overruled by voters who live outside of the district. This is simply unacceptable and the reason why I was proud to sponsor House Bill 817 to stop this disenfranchisement from continuing. I remain committed to ensuring that Tennessee has the most fair and secure elections in the nation.”
Knoxville City Council members are also keeping an eye on a separate bill that would make local elections partisan. Both bills head to the senate state and local government committee next Tuesday.
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