Nov 7 2014
10:50 pm

No On 1 seeks federal injunctive relief, using the constitutional requirement to cast a vote for governor as the basis for a provisional recount:

The plaintiffs want the judge to order the state to count only those Amendment 1 votes where the voters also cast ballots for governor. If that is impossible, they want the vote voided.

Plaintiffs say the state allowed some voters to game the system by voting for the amendment and skipping the governor’s race.

R. Neal's picture

There was some previous

There was some previous discussion here about this very scenario.

This seems like the most informed observation:


There's more debate before and after that.

Should be interesting, especially if the outcome is a definitive court ruling on how this is supposed to work.

John Sevier's picture

They're right, you know.

The constitutional language is clear, even if it's inconvenient. In the case of amendment 1, it could even make the difference. As (incorrectly) counted, the vote was close. It's also not unlikely that some number of supporters of amendment 1 sought to manipulate the vote by intentionally not casting a vote for governor. If you are a supporter of the amendment, not voting for governor (under the incorrect, sloppy interpretation of the law) would have the effect of lowering the bar for passage, by decreasing the number of yes votes required to reach 50% + 1 of the number of votes cast for governor. Given the fact that Democrats failed to put a serious candidate on the ballot, few Republicans would fear that skipping the governor's race on the ballot would place their candidate at any risk, so it's likely some number of amendment 1's supporters used this voting strategy.

If that's the case, then forcing the count to actually follow the law as written could mean the amendment fails, because some significant number of yes votes for the amendment would be thrown out, because, according to the law, those votes don't count, if no accompanying vote for governor was cast. On the other hand, if it turns out that the voting machines used cannot correlate the votes cast for governor with the votes cast for or against the amendment measures, then the votes cannot stand any more than could all those hanging chads in Florida.

As an added bonus, it will be entertaining to see that all the same people who are cheering for the pending case to remove subsidies from federally managed healthcare exchanges will also be the people who think the state constitution should be loosly inerpreted in this case.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


... especially if the outcome is a definitive court ruling on how this is supposed to work.

Constitution of the State of Tennessee

Article XI--Miscellaneous Provisions

Section 3. Any amendment or amendments to this Constitution may be
proposed in the Senate or House of Representatives, and if the same shall be agreed to by a majority of all the members elected to each of the two houses, such proposed amendment or amendments shall be entered on their journals with the yeas and nays thereon, and referred to the General Assembly then next to be chosen; and shall be published six months previous to the time of making such choice; and if in the General Assembly then next chosen as aforesaid, such proposed amendment or amendments shall be agreed to by two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, then it shall be the duty of the General Assembly to submit such proposed amendment or amendments to the people at the next general election in which a governor is to be chosen. And if the people shall approve and ratify such amendment or amendments by a majority of all the citizens of the state voting for governor, voting in their favor, such amendment or amendments shall become a part of this Constitution. When any amendment or amendments to the Constitution shall be proposed in pursuance of the foregoing provisions the same shall at each of said sessions be read three times on three several days in each house.

The Legislature shall have the right by law to submit to the people, at any general election, the question of calling a convention to alter, reform, or abolish this Constitution, or to alter, reform or abolish any specified part or parts of it; and when, upon such submission, a majority of all the voters voting upon the proposal submitted shall approve the proposal to call a convention, the delegates to such convention shall be chosen at the next general election and the convention shall assemble for the consideration of such proposals as shall have received a favorable vote in said election, in such mode and manner as shall be prescribed. No change in, or amendment to, this Constitution proposed by such convention shall become effective, unless within the limitations of the call of the convention, and unless approved and ratified by a majority of the qualified voters voting separately on such change or amendment at an election to be held in such manner and on such date as may be fixed by the convention. No such convention shall be held oftener than once in six years.

That's how it's supposed to work, and it isn't at all confusing. Make it so.

Rachel's picture

I don't think this is going

I don't think this is going anywhere, and as much as I hate amendment 1, I'm not sure I want it to. Has anybody considered the possible consequences that this might nullify other amendments to the state Constitution?

fischbobber's picture

Not trying to be argumentative, just curious,

Which amendments are you referring to?

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Ask Steve Cohen?

Looks like U. S. Rep. Steve Cohen might have some insight on that...

Wiki says the last Constitutional Convention we had (and the last time we saw any proposed amendments on the ballot) was in 1977, followed by a special election in 1978 *for the sole purpose of ratifying those proposed amendments*.

How'd they pull that one off, if there was no gubernatorial race on the ballot at all???

Leave it to Tennessee to have convoluted so straightforward a process!

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Scratch that...

Okay, I overlooked a Consitutional clause I copied and pasted above that says if the Convention approach to amendment is chosen, voters may approve or deny the proposed amendments "at an election to be held in such manner and on such date as may be fixed by the convention."

Glossed over that too quickly.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


So, looking just at this Wiki recap (sorry, can't immediately find a better source), it says that TN never put any amendment on the ballot except via the Convention process until 1998, when the legislative process was used for the very first time.

Wiki says our proposed amendments introduced via the legislative process since 1998 have been as follows:

1998-"Victims' Rights Amendment", which required prosecutors to stay in touch with crime victims and their families, explain to them how purported offenses involving them were to be prosecuted, and notify them when persons who had committed crimes against them were being scheduled for parole or release, among other provisions. Passed.

1998- The other amendment removed the word "comfortable" from the requirements for minimum standards for prisons. Passed.

2002=Repeal of a constitutional ban on all lotteries. Passed.

2002-Would have eliminated a constitutional provision that set $50 (a large sum in 1870 when the provision was enacted) as the maximum allowable fine for violation of a municipal ordinance. Instead, it would have allowed the legislature to set limits on the fines that municipalities could enact. Failed.

2006- The Tennessee Marriage Protection Amendment passed (ugh).

2006- Proposal to authorize the legislature to enact legislation allowing counties and municipalities to exempt people over 65 from property tax increases. Passed.

2010- "The citizens of this state shall have the personal right to hunt and fish, subject to reasonable regulations and restrictions prescribed by law. The recognition of this right does not abrogate any private or public property rights, nor does it limit the state's power to regulate commercial activity. Traditional manners and means may be used to take non-threatened species." Passed, but whatever.

*If* a court were to void the Amendment 1 vote and *if* doing so would invalidate these other six amendments to have passed in recent years, as well, it still doesn't appear that chaos would ensue (with the possible exception of the amendment to have lifted the ban on gambling to pave the way for our state lottery).

And isn't it possible that we could see a ruling to void Amendment 1 without retroactive effect to these six recent amendments?

Dunno, but I'm pleased this group (is it PP?) is giving it a stab.

John Sevier's picture


If the other amendments passed by some significant margin, it would be possible to do a statistical analysis to essentilaly disprove the possibility that a correct counting of the votes could have arrived at a different result. If that can be shown, then such an amendment could stand.

Turd Burglar's picture

Translation: We lost and

Translation: We lost and can't deal with it.

B Harmon's picture

don't feed the troll

don't feed the troll

Turd Burglar's picture

And if they could do this and

And if they could do this and checked the ballots it'd be the same result.

cafkia's picture

Actually, the troll raises a

Actually, the troll raises a good, if unintended, point. Politics has become a game with ill-defined concepts of winning and losing. Apparently that moron, and I assume he is a he, believes he won something because the side he annonymously, and possibly only electronically, supported got more votes. Ignoring the fact that if the goals of the groups that wanted this are successful, it will almost certainly have the effect of inflating the welfare rolls and could well result in an increase in crime. It would (ignoring the predictions for the 2045 Singularity and the concommittant Post Scarcity economy) increase the wealth divide which is the source of much of the social tension in this nation and the world.

So we are back to the politics of the Civil War wherein rich, amoral White slave and landholders convinced a bunch of poor, ignorant, Whites to go get their limbs and asses blown off so as to potentially increase the holdings of the rich Whites. In this case we could be looking at huge social unrest, riots and such, which would serve the same basic purpose as the Civil War did/was supposed to. As is historically appropriate, the poor Whites think they won something with the vote on "1" just as I am sure they did with votes to secede.

It would appear that someone besides the POTUS is playing the "Long Game" and their unwitting minions are incapable of a coherent analysis and understanding of history so as to understand their roles.

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