Sunday, August 19, 2018

Nashville police oversight board referendum cleared for November ballot; legal challenge by FOP awaits

On Wednesday of last week, the Election Commission  voted that the petition seeking to have a referendum on the ballot to create a civilian review board for the police department had sufficient signatures to be added to the November 6th ballot. The Fraternal Order of Police  is challenging that determination. The basis of the challenge is that group Community Oversight Now, the group behind the petition effort,  did not meet the signature threshold.

The Metro Charter says a proposed charter amendment may be placed on the ballot if a petition is filed that is signed by 10 percent of the number of voters who voted in the "preceding general election."  Community Oversight Now based their petition on the August 2016 election, which featured state primaries and local school board races, in which 47,074 people voted. That meant 4,708 signatures were required to meet the threshold.

The FOP says the last general election occurred on May 24 when the city held a special mayoral election and 82,368 people voted, meaning the petition to place the question on the ballot would require 8,237 valid signatures. So, the questions is, what is meant by "the preceding general election." This will be decided by Davidson County Chancery Court.

To read the Tennessean's account of this which I summarized above, follow this link.

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