Update: Judge won't hear merits in paper ballot suit

Thursday, November 5, 2009 at 11:59am

Update 1:45 p.m.: Judge says he will not hear merits today and will not rule on a motion to dismiss. More details to come.

A lawsuit filed Oct. 1 by an election reform group to force Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett to switch to paper ballots for the 2010 elections will be heard this afternoon in Davidson County Chancery Court.

The group, Common Cause of Tennessee, argues in its suit Davidson County Chancellor Russell Perkins should force Hargett to implement the Voter Confidence Act, a piece of state legislation passed last year that forces counties to switch from the touch screen system used by 93 of the 95 counties in the state.

County election officials and Republicans in the legislature have argued 2010 is too soon for reform. Hargett has interpreted the law to mean a new system must be up to 2005 standards, yet no machines currently exist that match those qualifications.

The group's suit argues Hargett's interpretation is wrong and that counties should adopt the existing machines set to 2002 qualifications for the next round of elections.

The hearing is scheduled for today at 1:30 p.m. at the Metro Courthouse.


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