The Look in Brief

Save Nashville Now sues Davidson County Election Commission

By: - July 13, 2021 3:30 pm
Historic Nashville Courthouse. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Historic Nashville Courthouse. (Photo: John Partipilo)

The other shoe has dropped in the ongoing dispute over a proposed referendum in Nashville to change the Metro Government Charter and undo a property tax increase levied by Metro Council in 2020. 

Save Nashville Now, a coalition of city business, community and faith leaders has filed a lawsuit against the Davidson County Election Commission, alleging the commission illegally set the referendum for Sept. 21 and calling the action “arbitrary, capricious and illegal.”

The suit, filed on behalf of Save Nashville Now by attorney Daniel Horwitz, says the Election Commission violated its own rules in the setting of the date. State law specifies an election cannot be less than 75 days from the date it is set and no more than 90 days. 

Another point in the suit states that 4 Good Government, the group collecting petition signatures for the referendum, asked for the measure to be placed on the ballot in June. The Save Nashville Now suit says the September election date does not fit the goals of the petitioners.

The election commission had originally set the date for the referendum for July 27. Chancellor Russell Perkins struck the referendum down on June 22, saying “the decision by the Election Commission was fraught with essential illegality.” Perkins cited not only issues about the setting of the date for the referendum, but noted the anti-tax provision was unconstitutional. 

In response, the election commission petitioned for the Tennessee Supreme Court to take over jurisdiction of the referendum. The court denied the request on Friday. 

To complicate matters, Jim Delanis, chair of the Davidson County Election Commission, alleged on July 6 that he was fired by the law firm of Baker Donelson, at which he had worked for 40 years, for refusing to change his vote at the request of two Baker Donelson clients. 

A link to the full lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday morning, can be found here. 



Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Holly McCall
Holly McCall

Holly McCall has been a fixture in Tennessee media and politics for decades. She covered city hall for papers in Columbus, Ohio and Joplin, Missouri before returning to Tennessee with the Nashville Business Journal. Holly brings a deep wealth of knowledge about Tennessee’s political processes and players and likes nothing better than getting into the weeds of how political deals are made.