Yes on 1 Campaign Seeks to Intervene On Behalf of Voters Threatened with Disenfranchisement
Motion Filed Friday Morning in State Court
Nashville, April 29, 2016---A motion filed Friday morning by proponents of Yes on 1 seeks to intervene on behalf of state voters who are threatened with having their votes thrown out as a result of last week's ruling by federal Judge Kevin Sharp. In an unprecedented decision, Sharp directed state election officials to undertake a recount of the November 2014 general election and to void all ballots cast on Amendment 1 by voters who did not also vote in the governor's race.
On Tuesday, Tennessee's Attorney General announced an appeal of Sharp's ruling to the U.S. Sixth Circuit stating, "We obviously disagree with the federal court's decision...Simply put, deciding what vote is required to amend the Tennessee Constitution is a matter of state law to be determined by a Tennessee Court."
In a separate action, Daniel Horwitz, counsel for the Yes on 1 Ballot Committee, prepared a motion asking state court Judge Michael Binkley to allow supporters of the pro-life amendment to intervene in the case in order to address the unique harm threatened to YES voters that the federal judge seeks to disenfranchise.
FEDERAL JUDGE KEVIN SHARP DEMANDS RECOUNT OF AMENDMENT 1 BALLOTS
Just a day after a state court ruled that the state's method of counting votes on Amendment 1 was proper according to the Tennessee Constitution, Chief Judge Kevin Sharp of the U.S. Federal District Court in Middle TN has demanded a recount of ballots cast on Amendment 1. (Click here to view Judge Sharp's order)
Sharp's ruling stopped short of voiding the election results outright and the judge also declined to broadly challenge the state's long held processes for amending the state Constitution.
Instead, Sharp focused solely on Amendment 1 and said "the method used to tabulate the votes on proposed Amendment 1 (was)... fundamentally unfair and violated" the due process and equal protection rights (of pro-abortion voters) "because Plaintiffs’ votes were not accorded the same weight as those who casts [sic] against proposed Amendment 1."
Despite this setback and wrong ruling, Tennessee Right to Life maintains confident that the votes of pro-life Tennesseans and the passage of Amendment 1 will ultimately be upheld.
STATE COURT UPHOLDS OUTCOME OF AMENDMENT 1
CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE MICHAEL BINKLEY RULES AGAINST PLANNED PARENTHOOD CLAIMS
Nashville (April 21, 2016)---Pro-life voters were handed a victory late Thursday as a state court judge ruled in favor of a motion for summary judgment brought by Secretary of State Tre Hargett and Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins. Hargett and Goins sought clarification from the court as to whether or not the process for counting votes and ratification of a voter-approved amendment were in violation of the Tennessee Constitution. Judge Michael Binkley ruled in favor of the state's process and dismissed pro-abortion claims that the process favored pro-life supporters of Amendment 1 while violating the rights of voters opposed to the pro-life amendment.
In response, the state's leading pro-life organization issued the following: "Tennessee Right to Life shares the view that the historic method of counting the votes and ratifying the results on Amendment 1 was followed in the exact way as every other amendment approved by the voters of our state," said Brian Harris, president of the organization. "Planned Parenthood is trying to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of pro-life Tennesseans simply because they dislike the outcome of the election. That's neither right nor fair," said Harris.
Click here for more information about today's decision.
Amendment 1 Final Vote Tally
Yes - 729,163 52.6%
No - 657,192 47.4%