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Editorial Results (free)

1. Residency Scratches Moore From Commission Ballot -

Less than a month before early voting opens for the Shelby County primary elections, former Shelby County Commissioner Edith Ann Moore is off the ballot in the Democratic primary for commission District 6.

2. Moore Scratched From May Ballot On Second Look -

Scratch former Shelby County Commission Edith Ann Moore from the May 6 Democratic primary for commission District 6.

3. Official: FBI to Interview Election Administrator -

MEMPHIS (AP) – The FBI has told Shelby County Election Administrator Richard Holden it wants to speak with him and six other election workers about how they complete their job responsibilities, an official said Thursday.

4. Akbari Takes District 91 Democratic Primary -

As fewer than 2,000 voters participated in the latest of 11 elections in Shelby County in a three-month span, the independent candidate in the Nov. 21 special general election for state House District 91 filed suit against state election officials in U.S. Federal Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.

5. Akbari Wins Democratic State House Primary -

Raumesh Akbari, an attorney making her first bid for elected office, won the Democratic primary State House special election Tuesday, Oct. 8 in a low turnout contest featuring seven contenders and an unofficial voter turnout of 5.4 percent.

6. Dwight DeBerry Dropped From Ballot -

Dwight DeBerry is off the Democratic primary ballot for State Representative District 91.

The Shelby County Election Commission removed DeBerry’s name last week from the list of candidates it certified earlier this month for the Oct. 8 special election primary.

7. Campfield Defiant, Unapologetic in Deposition -

NASHVILLE (AP) – State Sen. Stacey Campfield has given a deposition in which he is unapologetic for posting false information about a Democratic candidate on his blog, dismissive of the possibility of paying damages for that and belittling of the technological skills of fellow lawmakers.

8. Bill to Ban Cameras in Polling Places Withdrawn -

NASHVILLE (AP) – A bill seeking to ban cameras in polling places has died for the year amid concerns that voters wouldn't be able to document problems.

Republican Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver of Lancaster withdrew the bill Tuesday after lengthy debate spanning several meetings of the House State Government Committee.

9. State Coordinator Says Photo Identification Law Effect Minimal -

There were few complaints of people being turned away from the polls in Tennessee’s general election because they did not have an acceptable photo ID. Yet, opponents of the statute say any disenfranchisement is unacceptable.

10. County’s Early Vote Total: 38.9 Percent -

Nearly 40 percent of Shelby County’s 598,803 voters cast ballots during the early voting period that ended Thursday, Nov. 1.

But the 232,690 early voters – which accounts for 38.9 percent of the total number of registered voters – is fewer than four years ago when 254,362 early votes were cast.

11. High Court: Library Cards Valid at Polls -

Photo library cards issued by the city of Memphis are valid identification for voting and must be accepted by the Shelby County Election Commission.

The Tennessee Supreme Court Thursday, Nov. 1, lifted a stay on an earlier Tennessee Appeals Court ruling and ordered state election officials to tell the Shelby County Election Commission to accept the library cards at the polls.

12. Supreme Court Orders Photo Library Cards Accepted At Polls -

Photo library cards issued by the city of Memphis are valid identification for voting and must be accepted by the Shelby County Election Commission.

The Tennessee Supreme Court Thursday, Nov. 1, lifted a stay on an earlier Tennessee Appeals Court ruling and ordered state election officials to tell the Shelby County Election Commission to accept the library cards at the polls.

13. Early Voting Coming to Close in Tennessee -

Tennessee election officials are hoping to break another record when the early voting period ends on Thursday, but they acknowledge remnants of superstorm Sandy could affect voter turnout in the northeastern part of the state.

14. City Responds in Photo Voter Identification Case -

Attorneys for the city of Memphis said they would file a motion with the Tennessee Supreme Court by noon Monday, Oct. 29, in the state’s photo voter ID court case.

Tennessee state government Friday, Oct. 26, filed an appeal with the Tennessee Supreme Court of Thursday’s Tennessee Appeals Court ruling that orders the Shelby County Election Commission to allow voters to use photo library cards as a valid form of voter identification.

15. City Responds To State Appeal In Photo Voter ID Case -

Attorneys for the city of Memphis will file a motion with the Tennessee Supreme Court by noon Monday, Oct. 29, in the photo voter ID court case.

Tennessee state government Friday, Oct. 26, filed an appeal with the Tennessee Supreme Court of Thursday’s Tennessee Appeals Court ruling that orders the Shelby County Election Commission to allow voters to use photo library cards as a valid form of voter identification.

16. Appeals Court Rules Photo Library Cards Are Voter ID -

Photo library cards the city of Memphis began issuing this summer can be used as valid identification for the Nov. 6 elections.

The Tennessee Appeals Court ruled Thursday, Oct. 25, that city of Memphis photo library cards are a valid form of state issued identification for voting under terms of a 2011 Tennessee that requires photo identification in order to vote.

17. Appeals Court Rules Photo Library Cards Are Voter ID -

Photo library cards the city of Memphis began issuing this summer can be used as valid identification for the Nov. 6 elections.

The Tennessee Appeals Court ruled Thursday, Oct. 25, that city of Memphis photo library cards are a valid form of state issued identification for voting under terms of a 2011 Tennessee that requires photo identification in order to vote.

18. Audit Details Election Commission Faults -

The Tennessee Comptroller’s audit division has concluded the Shelby County Election Commission has “demonstrated an inability to conduct elections without significant inaccuracies, including those identified in the 2012 elections.”

19. Co. Election Commission to Certify Aug. 2 Results -

Shelby County Election Commissioners won’t completely close the books Monday, Aug. 20, on the troubled Aug. 2 elections.

But they will certify the elections results, which is the point when results in specific races could be challenged in Shelby County Chancery Court.

20. Court: Party Names to Appear on November Ballot -

Tennessee voters will be able to see the party affiliations of candidates listed on the November general election ballot after a federal appeals on Friday cleared the way for the change.

The ruling means that candidates running under the flags of the Green Party and the Constitution Party, as well as Democrats and Republicans, will be identified.

21. Election Chief: No Time for New Dem. Primary -

There isn’t enough time to hold another primary following the state Democratic Party’s disavowal of its U.S. Senate nominee, State Election Coordinator Mark Goins said Tuesday, Aug. 7.

22. Hargett: Shelby Election Problems Erode Public Confidence -

The election driven by ballot questions and one-time-only races looks to become an election that goes into overtime as well.

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett formally asked State Comptroller Justin Wilson Friday, July 27, to audit the administration of the Shelby County Election Commission and investigate election procedures and returns.

23. Election Commission Admits Ballot Problems -

Challenges to the conduct of the Aug. 2 election may have reached a peak Tuesday, July 24.

The Shelby County Election Commission admitted a “limited number” of voters in some precincts got early voting ballots that included the wrong district races.

24. City Voter ID Suit Alleges Voter Turned Away Twice -

The city of Memphis wants a Nashville federal judge to order the state to accept photo library cards issued by the city since last month as a valid form of voting identification.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday, July 24, was expected.

25. GOP Leaders Brace for Possible Voter Problems -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican leaders say they expect some problems may arise from recent changes in electoral procedures when early voting starts Friday in Tennessee, but they hope to have the wrinkles ironed out by the general election in November.

26. Polls Set to Open for Early Voting -

Shelby County voters start deciding Friday, July 13, general election countywide races for assessor of property, General Sessions Court clerk, district attorney general and a race for a Shelby County Commission seat. The ballot also includes seven races for district seats on the countywide school board.

27. Library Cards at Root of Voter ID Challenge -

New Memphis library cards that include a photo have become a challenge to the new state law requiring certain state-issued photo identification in order to vote.

The Memphis library system unveiled the move to the photo library cards last week with Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. saying the new library cards could be used to vote starting with the upcoming Aug. 2 elections. Early voting begins Friday, July 13.

28. City Says Library Photo Cards Should Stand For Election ID -

New Memphis library cards that include a photo have become a challenge to the new state law requiring certain state-issued photo identification in order to vote.

The Memphis library system unveiled the move to the photo library cards last week with Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. saying the new library cards could be used to vote starting with the upcoming Aug. 2 elections. Early voting begins Friday, July 13.

29. Effort to Repeal Voter ID Law Fails in Tenn. Senate -

NASHVILLE (AP) – A proposal to repeal Tennessee's new voter ID law has stalled in the Legislature after being killed by a Senate panel on Tuesday.

Members of the Senate State and Local Government Committee voted 3-6 against the measure sponsored by Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Lowe Finney of Jackson. The companion bill was to be heard in a similar committee later in the House.

30. Election Commission Says No To Municipal Schools Referenda -

The Shelby County Election Commission says requests to put referenda on the ballot May 10 to create municipal school districts are “procedurally defective.”

The unanimous voice vote by the commission Wednesday, March 21, sets the stage for a possible legal challenge of the decision by suburban leaders in Chancery Court.

31. AG's Opinion Familiar Front In Schools Discussion -

The schools consolidation saga is moving into déjà vu territory with a new legal opinion from the Tennessee attorney general on a schools ballot question and legislation affecting the process moving in Nashville.

32. Tenn. AG: No Referenda on Muni School Systems -

The Tennessee Attorney General says the move to municipal school districts cannot move forward with May or August ballot questions because they would violate the schools consolidation law.

The legal opinion from Attorney General Robert Cooper, issued Tuesday, March 20, in response to questions from Memphis State Senator Beverly Marrero reads “Tennessee law currently prohibits a municipality in Shelby County from taking any action to establish a new school system.”

33. State Seeks Stay of Ruling on 3rd Parties in Tenn. -

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) – Against the backdrop of the 2012 presidential election, a legal battle is under way that will determine how many roadblocks minor political party candidates face when trying to get on election ballots in Tennessee.

34. Tenn. Photo ID Law Could Face Challenge -

A requirement that Tennessee voters show photographic identification could be challenged in a lawsuit.

Unless or until there is legislative or court action to change the statute that took effect Sunday, Jan. 1, it remains the law. Tennessee Election Coordinator Mark Goins said his office anticipates voters will be required to show a photo ID when they go to the polls for the March primary elections, according to The Tennessean.

35. Partisans Debate State Voter ID Law -

If you voted early or on Election Day in the recent city of Memphis elections, you probably got a piece of paper from election officials about the next elections.

The new state law requiring Tennessee voters to have a valid state or federal government-issued photo ID goes into effect with the 2012 elections starting with the March primaries. And the poll handout was about the new state law and what the new ground rules will be.

36. Session Tuesday About New Photo ID Voting Law -

KNOXVILLE (AP) – The first AARP question-and-answer session about a new law requiring photo identification to vote is Tuesday in Knoxville.

It is the first in a series of such gatherings around the state.

37. AARP to Help Raise Awareness About Voter ID Law -

NASHVILLE (AP) – AARP Tennessee is collaborating with the state's coordinator of elections to help people meet the requirements of a new law requiring photo identification to vote.

The two will hold a series of question and answer sessions around the state starting in Knoxville on Oct. 18. Elections Coordinator Mark Goins says he's grateful to AARP for its help in raising awareness about the new law.

38. State to Purge Noncitizen Voters From its Rolls -

NASHVILLE (AP) – A new law designed to curb illegal voting by noncitizen residents has gone largely unnoticed, overshadowed by Tennessee's new voter identification law.

But the state elections office will soon compare the names of more than 20,000 noncitizens who hold Tennessee driver's licenses with voter registration records. Anyone listed as a noncitizen and registered to vote will be given 30 days to present proof of citizenship or be purged from the rolls.

39. Voter Education Gears Up Ahead of Photo ID Law -

KNOXVILLE (AP) – Tennessee’s new law to require nearly all voters to show a photo identification card at polling places beginning next year has led state officials and interest groups to plan education campaigns before the 2012 elections.

40. GOP, Dems Clash Over 3rd Parties on Tenn. Ballot -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Republicans are balking at a Democratic senator's proposal to make it easier for minor parties to be listed on the Tennessee ballot.

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle of Memphis wants to set a threshold of 10,000 signatures from eligible voters for a third party to be recognized in the state, down from a GOP proposal of about 40,000 signatures from registered voters.

41. Lighting the Fuse -

Memphis voters have 22 words to weigh as they decide what is to become of Shelby County’s two public school systems.
“Shall the administration of the Memphis City School System, a special school district, be transferred to the Shelby County Board of Education?”
The words seem inadequate to cover what a “yes” or a “no” vote means after a state law and other factors changed the terms of a vote already scheduled for March 8.
Voters for schools consolidation may be against special schools district status but for letting some of the six suburban towns and cities try to go with their own municipal school system.
Voters may be against school consolidation and against special school district status if it includes taxing authority for the county school board, albeit with tax approval required by the Tennessee Legislature.
Some voters may see it as a way of ending reforms driven by MCS superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash. Others may see it as a way of ending Shelby County Schools board chairman David Pickler’s dominance of that school system.
School consolidation advocates are still urging citizens to vote “yes” and school consolidation opponents are still urging citizens to vote “no.”
“The lay of the land has changed, so will people consider the lay of the land or what? That statement stands. It’s on the ballot and everyone knows what it’s designed to do,” said Memphis City Council chairman Myron Lowery. “This occurred after the question was put on the ballot. If someone wants to make that stretch, they’re jumping over a lot of hurdles. This was not in place when this was put on the ballot.”
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr., along with Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, sought a transition period even as political positions began to harden. He doesn’t see what’s in the law as a transition period.
“The way it’s structured, there’s every incentive not to reach an agreement. It looks to me like it falls off the face of the earth,” Wharton said. “There was nothing in there that states where do you go if at the end of this (the planning process) there is nothing resolved.”
State Sen. Mark Norris, R-Collierville, disagrees.
“The state has a compelling interest in assuring that the administration of schools is properly discharged,” Norris wrote in an op-ed piece for The Memphis News last week. “To do otherwise defies common sense and common decency.”
Pickler said if voters approve the question, he will quickly move to assemble a team to work on the transition. It’s a transition that Pickler has always emphasized will be controlled by the county school system. That is one point on which the attorneys seem to agree.
“Clearly we understand that this issue is not about educational outcomes,” he said during a WKNO forum last week. “We still do not believe that creating a mega district … doesn’t do anything to improve education.”
MCS board member Tomeka Hart, at the same forum, countered “We do here as an economic issue,” a reference to the University of Memphis study showing special schools district status could cost MCS half of the county property tax base it relies on for funding. “It’s time to rewrite all of this,” Hart concluded.
Here is the timeline – to date – of the ongoing schools showdown:

42. Elected Leaders Meet Tuesday on Schools Legislation -

There is some movement between political forces in Memphis and political forces representing the city and county in Nashville on the school consolidation question.

“I’m relatively certain there will be no effort to interfere with the right of the vote on March 8,” Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. said Monday afternoon, referring to the March citywide referendum on the surrender of the Memphis City Schools system charter.

43. New School Merger Option Emerges -

A second quicker path to school consolidation opened this week, the same night the Memphis City Schools board made a bigger splash by voting down a compromise offer from the Shelby County Schools system.

44. March 8 Set for Schools Election -

With no discussion, the Shelby County Election Commission has set March 8 as the date for a special citywide election on the Memphis City Schools charter surrender.

The date is the same day as the general election in Raleigh and North Memphis for the state House district 98 seat.

45. School Election to be Held in 45 to 60 Days -

The lawsuit is over and the election is on in the fast-moving, ever-changing schools standoff.

A day after a citizens group filed suit seeking a court order to put the Memphis City Schools (MCS) system charter surrender on the ballot, all sides in the lawsuit agreed there would be a referendum election sometime in March.

46. March Charter Surrender Referendum Agreement Made -

There will be a citywide referendum on a Memphis City Schools system charter surrender sometime no later than March 14 under terms of a consent order entered Thursday morning in Shelby County Chancery Court.

47. Lawsuit Filed as Norris Submits Legislation in Schools Standoff -

The Memphis City Schools (MCS) charter surrender controversy is in the courts.

The group Citizens for Better Education and two citizens filed suit in Chancery Court Wednesday afternoon seeking a court order directing the Shelby County Election Commission to put a charter surrender referendum on the ballot and set a date for the election.

48. No Schools Lawsuit Yet, State Elections Coordinator Asks For Clarification -

The Tennessee elections coordinator has asked for clarification about why the Memphis City Schools (MCS) board wants to hold a special election.

The attorney for MCS Tuesday sent a letter to elections coordinator Mark Goins that might lead to another Shelby County Election Commission look at putting the MCS charter surrender referendum to Memphis voters possibly in February or March.

49. AG Opinion Says Memphis-Only Vote On MCS Charter Surrender -

Another day, another in a series of legal opinions that continue to better define the terms of the standoff between Shelby County’s two public school systems.

Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper has issued a legal opinion that confirms only Memphis voters would vote in a referendum on a Memphis City Schools (MCS) system charter surrender.

50. Snow Day For Schools Standoff -

The first lawsuit in the standoff between Shelby County’s two public school systems was to be filed Monday in Chancery Court.

But several inches of snow have slowed for now what has been several weeks of a fast moving series of actions and reactions in the controversy.

51. Schools Dispute About To Move Into Court -

The move to court has begun in the ongoing standoff between Shelby County’s two public school systems.

Attorneys for the group “Citizens for Better Education” were preparing a filing Friday afternoon to be filed in Chancery Court by the end of the business day.

52. Schools Merger Expert Urges Less Panic More Transition Planning -

The Nashville attorney considered an expert on school system consolidations in the state told the Shelby County school board Thursday to get ready for an unprecedented transition to merging with Memphis City Schools (MCS), work with MCS officials and expect the transition to take at least a year and a half.

53. Schools Controversy Spotlight Moves From Election Prep -

This may be where the dispute between Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools goes to court and drags in more political entities.

The dimmed prospect of a February referendum of Memphis voters on an MCS charter surrender has turned the spotlight from the preparations for an election to a race across the new year’s calendar between an election and special school district legislation in the Tennessee Legislature.

54. No Election Date Yet For MCS Charter Surrender -

The Shelby County Election Commission met Wednesday and adjourned minutes later without putting the Memphis City Schools (MCS) charter surrender on a special election ballot.

The five-member body refused based on a legal opinion from Tennessee Elections Coordinator Mark Goins delivered an hour before the meeting. The opinion says the Memphis City Council must approve having the referendum before the item can go on the ballot.

55. Davidson County Primary Election Flooded Out -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Election officials in Nashville have delayed the city's local primary because of flooding.

The Davidson County primary election was to have taken place Tuesday, but local election commission members conducted an emergency meeting Monday and voted to delay it for two weeks.

56. State Finds 10K Dead Voters Remain on Registration Rolls -

Almost 10,000 dead voters are still on the state’s registration rolls, the Tennessee Division of Elections has found.

Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins’ staff found what appeared to be at least 9,800 dead voters still on the rolls after comparing the state voter registration database to a national master list of deaths provided by the Social Security Administration.

57. Republicans to be Listed First on Tenn. Ballots -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - State Election Coordinator Mark Goins says Tennessee Republicans will be listed first on all ballots, beginning with a special House election next month.

58. Democratic Rep. Cobb to Resign from Tenn. House -

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Democratic state Rep. Curt Cobb announced Wednesday that he is resigning from his seat in the Legislature to take a judicial position in Bedford County.

59. Senate to Vote On Delaying Paper Ballot Rules -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The state Senate is expected to vote soon on whether to delay starting a new Tennessee law that requires a paper trail from voting machines.

The Senate Finance Committee voted 7-3 on Wednesday to advance the measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro.

60. Tenn. Bill Would Require Photo ID to Vote -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The sponsor of legislation that would require Tennessee voters to show photo identification at the polls said Tuesday that doing so would add integrity to the process, but opponents were concerned the measure may discourage people from voting.