Judge Will Allow Municipal School Vote
(Memphis) U.S. District Judge Samuel “Hardy” Mays has ruled the August 2 referendum allowing municipal voters to decide whether to create their own school districts can go forward.
Mays said certification of the vote can happen. The constitutionality of the law allowing such districts will be decided later.
Judge Mays scheduled a meeting for Friday at 9:30am to schedule upcoming hearings. Lawyers will try to convince Judge Mays about whether this law violates part of the state constitution, by applying only to Shelby County.
Early voting starts Friday in Shelby County.
After listening all day Thursday to arguments from attorneys representing the Shelby County Commission, the City of Memphis, the Memphis City Council, the Shelby County Election Commission and all Shelby County suburbs, Judge Mays told the anxious group the bar for stopping an election is just too high.
Some argued the election was already underway, with some absentee ballots already coming back. Others argued the election could be stopped as long as votes had not been counted.
Judge Mays said he would rather allow the election to proceed and deal with the results later, should he find the law unconstitutional.
That leaves room for him to throw out the results, or perhaps delay the forming of the municipal schools.
”I think he wants to sleep on it. He wants us to be absolutely positive in our position. And then he can make his final decision,” said Allan Wade, the attorney for the Memphis City Council.
Shelby County Commissioner Sidney Chism said, “It’s something that I think would have to go to another court. I don’t think it’ll be settled here. I think the 6th circuit will get it. I think it might go all the way up to the Supreme Court.”
Voters in Bartlett were pleased to hear they could cast their ballots and were not worried about future twists and turns.
”I don’t have children in school anymore, but I have grandchildren coming through, and I think we have a well run school system. And I’d like to see it stay that way,” said Tammy Kennemore.
She knows the judge could rule the law unconstitutional, but at least for the moment, she’s focusing on the fact that she gets to vote.
”Well i’m glad that he’s letting it go forward, you know, to give things time to air out.”
Suburban mayors Stan Joyner of Collierville and Mike Wissman of Arlington told News Channel 3 they are guardedly optimistic.
Both were happy to see their residents vote, but also unsure of what would come next.
In Tennessee, in addition to being a registered vote, you will need a valid photo ID.
Acceptable Photo IDs for Voting: Any of the following IDs may be used, even if expired:
- Tennessee drivers license with your photo
- Photo ID issued by the federal or ANY state government
- United States Passport
- Photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security
- United States Military photo ID
- State-issued handgun carry permit with your photo
Photo IDs NOT Accepted for Voting: College student IDs and photo IDs not issued by the federal or a state government are NOT acceptable.
For a complete detailing of the Tennessee State http://www.tn.gov/sos/election/photoID.htm
Absentee Option for Age 60+: The absentee voting law and requirements in Tennessee changed in 2012 to allow anyone 60 years of age or older to request and vote absentee. This means that someone who is 60+ who decides to not obtain a photo ID or who for some reason is unable to obtain a photo ID, can still vote as long as they are registered.
Voters are reminded that written requests for an absentee ballot should be sent to the Shelby County Election Commission at 980 Nixon Drive, Memphis, TN 38134. Requests for an absentee ballot are accepted no more than ninety (90) days and not less than seven (7) days before an election. Applications must be in the office seven (7) days before any election, and requests or applications received after this deadline must be rejected. This means, to vote in the Aug. 2 Election in Shelby County, a request for absentee ballot must be received by July 26. For a complete description of the absentee request process visit http://www.shelbyvote.com/DocumentCenter/Home/View/11