Announcing its support for the class action lawsuit filed by former congressman Lincoln Davis, naming as defendants Governor Bill Haslam, Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett and Tennessee of Coordinator of Elections Marty Goins, the Hamilton County Democratic Party called on the Hamilton County Election Commission to join the lawsuit, and also to release the names of voters who have been purged from voter rolls since Mr. Goins’ appointment on Feb. 11, 2009.
“As of Dec. 1, 2011, approximately 8,000 voters had been purged from the rolls in Hamilton County, just according to the six-month report included in the lawsuit,” said Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Paul Smith.
“That is far more than would be needed to decide an election. We have the right to know who was purged, why, their party affiliation, their gender and their race. If the election commission is truly fair and unbiased, it will join the lawsuit and release this information to the public.”
“Along with the drive to deny many groups access to their voting rights, this system of purging is calculated to tilt elections,” Mr. Smith said.
He said Secretary of State Tre Hargett "is also featured in the recent Odyssey Networks video (filmed primarily in Chattanooga) offering less-than-convincing arguments for the Republican-backed voter I.D. law."
Mr. Smith said, “But the hard-won right to vote for all groups will be fought for by the Democratic Party - and should be supported by all people who believe in the principles of democracy.”
Former Congressman Davis filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee "to challenge the actions taken by Tennessee state government officials to unlawfully purge voters from the state’s voting rolls."
He said last Tuesday he attempted to vote at the same precinct in Pall Mall, Tn., where he has voted since 1995. He said he was told that he could not vote because his name no longer appeared on the voter rolls. As a result, he said he was denied the right to vote - "a right he has exercised in every election since 1964."
"In order to ensure that all Tennesseans’ right to vote is protected", former Congressman Davis said he brought the lawsuit seeking a federal court order "requiring the state of Tennessee to restore the names of all Tennesseans who were improperly purged from the state’s voting rolls."
“This lawsuit is not about me,” former Congressman Davis said, “Rather, I’m taking this action to ensure that the State of Tennessee is required to restore all Tennesseans to the voting rolls whose names were improperly removed.”
He is represented by the law firm of Barrett Johnston, LLC. In bringing the action, founding partner George Barrett said, “The right to vote is fundamental to any democracy, but it’s especially important to our American democracy, given the long history of government undermining the right to vote. Our law firm is committed to representing individuals, like Congressman Davis, whose right to vote has been violated by what we believe is a concerted effort by state government officials to suppress the vote in Tennessee this election cycle.”