Chattanooga City Council has announced that they are suing the Hamilton County Election commission. The dispute started regarding the wording of one particular ballot question.
Last year, Chattanooga's city council approved an ordinance to extend benefits to same-sex couples and domestic partners. But, a group in oppositon held a petition drive to put the ordinance up for a public vote. In November, the Election Commission approved this wording of the referendum for the August ballot.
But just last week, Chattanooga's city attorney, Wade Hinton, says things got complicated. "The hamilton county election commission had an emergency meeting where they made a decision to take away that information," says Hinton.
The wording was consolidated and Hinton says the election commission broke the rules. "The state law and the charter provides that the city attorney drafts the summary that's what we are trying to do to get the information to the city residents."
Last night, city council members voted 8-1 in favor of filing a lawsuit. The city attorney's office made the decision official by delivering their lawsuit to the circuit court clerk. "We're asking the court to re-instate that language so that the citizens can make their decision."
While he didn't want to talk with us on camera, Hamilton County's election commission administrator did say their biggest concern is the looming deadline to print ballots. Any changes or re-printing could potentially come out of taxpayers wallets. "I can tell you that we are going to try to get this resolved as quickly as possible."
by Mikaya Thurmond