Roberts challenges election results in effort to secure runoff

Wednesday, August 17, 2011 at 2:09pm

Armed with what she claims is a case of numerous voting irregularities, Metro Council District 20 candidate Mary Carolyn Roberts is challenging the result of her election in hopes of triggering a runoff.

“I feel like we have a strong case,” Roberts said, adding she plans to officially file the challenge in Davidson County Chancery Court at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

The commission certified Metro’s Aug. 4 general election results last Friday. But Roberts has alleged some voters in the District 20 race claimed their business addresses as residencies, and didn’t actually live in the West Nashville-area district.

Roberts also said out-of-district prisoners who voted in District 20 shouldn’t have been able to do so. The prisoners originally registered in District 20, but have been serving time in Hickman County.

Moreover, she said some former District 20 residents who moved out of the district, voted in the District 20 election nonetheless.

The election commission has certified a victory for incumbent Councilman Buddy Baker, who bested Roberts by a 696-650 vote margin. A third candidate received 26 votes. Roberts believes she can make up enough votes, approximately 10, to reduce Baker’s 50 percent majority and spur a Sept. 15 runoff.

Davidson County Elections Administrator Albert Tieche said he didn’t want to comment on the challenge until he has time to analyze it.

Stephen Zralek, Baker’s legal counsel, said his client is "a lifelong public servant.  He's a retired firefighter. He won the election by 46 votes."

"Ms. Roberts is seeking to overturn the election," Zralek added. "I've been involved in a number of election contests, and I can tell you that she has a significant uphill battle, given the wide margin of victory. The Tennessee Supreme Court has made it clear that elections generally should be upheld, that election laws should be construed in favor of the right to vote, and that courts should be very reluctant before taking the drastic step of declaring an election invalid."

5 Comments on this post:

By: The Nations on 8/17/11 at 12:46

will never happen

By: District 20 on 8/17/11 at 2:18


By: govskeptic on 8/18/11 at 4:12

The voting records plainly shows prisoners and others that have moved out of the
district as voting in this district race! With that evidence I don't see how the
Commission can do anything other than order a run off, but after the damage is
done the Plaintiffs have an uphill battle to then overturn. This action appears
to be the right thing to do versus the Sore Loser categorization being suggested!
Her numbers show enough inappropriate votes to require this run off.

By: Gower Mills on 8/19/11 at 7:28

I wish Mary Carolyn all the best in getting her right to a Run-Off against Enemy Baker oh, I meant Buddy who has the real name as James. Using an alias for his name should not be allowed as he is not a buddy. She has good evidence of irregular voting pratices in District 20. The inmates for one are 8 of 9 that are not from Nashville and 3 of them even still have the address of a closed down prison listed as their address. HOw are they allowed to vote and say they live at a location that has been closed for nearly 20 years?

Gower Mills

By: PKVol on 8/19/11 at 9:59

When a voter gets his / her Application to Vote (the piece of paper you receive when you first go into the polling location) and signs it, he / she is attesting that he / she is a legal voter who is eligible to vote in that election (one has to list his / her current address and if it doesn't match the poll book, they have to complete a change of address form and then can vote only at the polling place where his / her current address is allowed to vote, which can sometimes still be the same polling place). If they provide a non-current address on the Application to Vote, they are commiting voter fraud and should be charged with voter fraud.

Having said this however, I don't think it is reasonable enough to disallow the results of the election and force a 'do-over' because you can't ensure the same electorate is voting as did for the original election. An election is a poll conducted at a certain time by a certain group of people and that can't be duplicated with another election.