Friday, March 31, 2006


Tennessee Board of Elections Feeds Crisis in Knox and Shelby Counties

The latest word in the election crisis facing Knox and Shelby Counties is that State Election Chief Brook Thompson will not alter the ballots because we are within 40 days of the May election.

So what happens now? Well, under the system that is currently in place, the candidates who are still rightfully term-limited under the Tennessee Supreme Court's ruling this week will remain on the ballot and, in the tradition of write-in candidacies bombing like a CBS sitcom, more than likely win the popular vote. However, because of the decision, they will be disqualified. That will leave a select group of unelected politicos on each side of the aisle to choose who will represent the party in the general election.

The problem with this is that Thompson, who very well may be following protocol, has taken the power away from the people in a move that arguably may run afoul of federal law. This sets the stage for backroom deals that would make former Memphis Senator John Ford envious.

This presents a no-win situation for the county parties, too, because the odds of them choosing replacement candidates for the general election that make all of the various factions in the party happy is highly unlikely.

The upshot is that attorneys (of which I am one) who don't like the outcome may have a busy summer with these cases in state and/or federal court.

Is this how democracy works again? With a judicial decree upholding the will of the people but an executive board thwarting that will through adherence to a protocol that obviously wasn't meant for this situation, thus thrusting the entire controversy back into the courts after candidates are chosen for the voters by unelected kingmakers?

Buckle up, folks...

Do you think the Election Commission can reschedule the primary? Sure because of the circumstances, this may be allowed...
Dave -

It is my understanding that a cooperative effort by the local election board, the State Election Commission, and the General Assembly could accomplish just that. However, that makes too much sense, so it isn't a feasible option.


Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?