Lawsuit Calls for Tennessee to Recount Votes on Abortion Amendment

November 11, 2014

State election officials are calling a lawsuit claiming votes were incorrectly tabulated on abortion measure Amendment 1 “absurd” and without merit.

The measure giving lawmakers more power to enact abortion restrictions passed on Tuesday with 53 percent of the vote, with organizers of the “Yes on 1” campaign claiming victory and organizers of the “No on One” campaign conceding defeat.

But on Friday, opponents of the measure filed a federal lawsuit, challenging the method election officials are using to count ballot measure votes. The lawsuit asks the court to intervene to either force election officials to recount the vote or to invalidate it.

The first hearing in the case is set for U.S. District Court in Nashville on Jan. 12.

For an amendment to pass, according to the state constitution, voters must “approve and ratify such amendment or amendments by a majority of all the citizens of the state voting for governor, voting in their favor.”

Attorneys who filed the suit say this means the state must count only the votes of those who cast ballots in both the governor’s race as well as on Amendment 1. They noted that there was a concerted effort to ask voters to vote only in the amendment race to make its passage more likely.

Instead, state election officials, as they have in every referendum measure since 1950, count a majority of the votes cast in the governor’s race as creating a threshold number for a referendum to pass.

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