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Supreme Court hears arguments on Nashville Mayoral Election

April 10, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Lawyers spent Monday afternoon sparring before the Tennessee Supreme Court during oral arguments in a legal case that has cast doubt over when voters will decide who gets to fill the remaining term of former Mayor Megan Barry.

At issue in the expedited appeal is whether the law says a special election should be held in late May or if voters should select a candidate on Aug. 2.

The Davidson County Election Commission set the date for Aug. 2, a day that was already set for voters to choose people for several Metro offices.

If a special election must be held in May, it will cost taxpayers $1 million.

Barry resigned last month after pleading guilty to felony theft of taxpayer money connected to her affair with the head of her security detail and their travel together. She paid $11,000 restitution and was placed on probation. She was immediately replaced by Vice Mayor David Briley, who is running to complete her term.

Ludye Wallace, a candidate for mayor and head of the Nashville NAACP, sued after the Election Commission voted to hold the election in August.

Wallace contends that the law calls for a special election because the August date isn’t truly a Metropolitan General Election as defined by law. He originally hoped that the mayoral race would be held on May 1, the day Nashville voters will decide on a referendum to fund a $5.4 billion mass transit plan. However, one of his attorneys conceded that it was now not possible to hold the mayoral vote on that day.

Wallace also contends that he and other candidates would not be forced to raise as much money if the election were held in May, as opposed to August.

The Supreme Court will decide this week on the matter.

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