Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act Chances Might Improve with New Makeup of Davidson County Election Commission


One of the people behind the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act said he’s optimistic that the proposed referendum has a fighting chance, given the new makeup of the Davidson County Election Commission.

Attorney Jim Roberts described Thursday night’s Election Commission meeting as “fabulous for our side.” This, after he said Metro Nashville officials were trying to undermine the proposed referendum which, if voters approve it, would roll back Nashville Mayor John Cooper’s 34 to 37 percent tax increase.

“What we saw was the Election Commission through its chairman Mr. [Jim] DeLanis standing up to Metro,” Roberts said.

“They made it very clear at the meeting that Metro did not have the Election Commission’s interests at heart.”

As The Tennessee Star reported this week, two Republicans have replaced two other members of that political party on the Davidson County Election Commission. Davidson County Administrator of Elections Jeff Roberts — no relation to Jim Roberts — identified those two new men as Dan Davis and Ross Evans.  Jim DeLanis now chairs the Election Commission, replacing now-former commissioner Emily Reynolds.

As reported, the people behind the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act said they have obtained 14,000 signatures for a referendum on the matter and have filed those signatures with the Metro Nashville Clerk’s Office.

Now people are debating whether 14,000 signatures was enough, based upon preceding Metro elections.

“State and federal elections don’t count as preceding general metropolitan elections. And that logic is completely spelled out in a Fraternal Order of Police versus Metro case that came out of the Community Oversight Board referendum two years ago. In that case the Court of Appeals said, very clearly [and] unequivocally that state and federal elections don’t count and that special elections don’t court. And that was the issue in this case,” Jim Roberts told The Star.

“They were going backwards from 2018 saying there was the mayoral special election. There was the 2016 presidential election. They were going step-by-step and the court said no special elections don’t count [and] state and federal elections don’t count. The only thing that counts are county-wide general elections. That was the August 2016 assessor of property[election]  and 2020 [was] also an assessor of property [election].”

Roberts said Wednesday he would file suit Thursday regarding the legally correct number of signatures needed. He told The Star Friday that he did just that.

“We would like to get that nailed down, not just for this election, but going forward based on the statements of the election commission last night,” Roberts said.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]











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