Amendment 1 Plaintiffs Question Transparency of SoS Certification of Ratification

Press release from Public Relations Firm representing Plaintiffs Challenging Amendment 1 (TN’s Constitutional Amendment on Abortion); Dec. 16, 2014:

The State of Tennessee has now indicated that the Governor and Secretary of State have certified ratification of Amendment 1. No prior notice of certification was supplied to plaintiffs and the certification occurred without Secretary Hargett providing any information supporting his assertion that the votes were counted in accordance with the state constitution.

“Until we have transparency from the Secretary of State we are not going to know how the vote really turned out and whether it complied with the constitution,” said Bill Harbison, Counsel for the Plaintiffs. “Only transparency will allow the voters to have confidence in the system.”

Last month, following the election, eight plaintiffs filed a lawsuit asking that the votes be counted as required by the language of Article XI, Section 3 of the constitution. Despite a prior formal written request from plaintiffs’ counsel for the information necessary to determine the number of non-qualified votes on Amendment 1, Secretary Hargett has provided no information to allow the state’s citizens to understand if the votes were counted in accordance with the state constitution.

For a copy of the full complaint please click here.

The plaintiffs released the following joint statement:

“Secretary Hargett has stated that ‘[i]t is up to us as election officials to do everything possible to ensure the integrity of elections in Tennessee.’ By refusing to provide the information requested and choosing to merely certify the results, Secretary Hargett is doing the exact opposite.”

“When he took office, Secretary Hargett stressed the importance of ‘voter confidence’ and the danger posed to the entire system when a person’s vote is ‘effectively cancelled by someone who wasn’t eligible to cast a ballot.’ Secretary Hargett’s refusal to provide the information necessary to support his decision to certify the results severely undermines the very voter confidence he pledged to promote. And given Secretary Hargett’s prior statements about how he intended to count the votes, there is little doubt that tens of thousands of votes have been effectively cancelled by persons who were not eligible to cast a ballot on the Amendment according to our state constitution.”

“The voters of Tennessee deserve better. They deserve to know the facts. They deserve to have their constitution followed. And they deserve to have confidence in the election system.”