Community Control Now: The Fight Continues: Press Release For Complaint Submission
On December 22nd 2020, the Community Control Now Coalition announced that we would be conducting The People’s Review Process to access the rejected signatures from the petition to put a Community Oversight Board of the Chattanooga Police Department on the ballot for the March 2021 elections. After a thorough analysis of the 1,596 petition signatures that were rejected by the Hamilton County Election Commission, we see that the Commission will go to any length to ensure that police misconduct continues to go unchecked by suppressing the
people’s will to put Community Control of the Chattanooga Police to a vote on the upcoming March ballot. Even in the midst of a pandemic, the Coalition was still able to collect over 6000 physical signatures, demonstrating massive citywide support of the ballot initiative.
At a time when the entire country is reckoning with the facts of systemic racism and white supremacy, the Commission hastily rejected these signatures. At a time when the legitimacy of electoral processes are under attack and in question, the Commission defaulted to its custom of voter suppression. In light of police clearly collaborating with white nationalists and fascists during the attack on the United States Capitol building on January 6, 2021, the need to hold police accountable for their complicity with white supremacy has become even more undeniable than before. The Hamilton County Election Commission, a body of majority Republican election commission officers, must be held accountable for their disingenuous efforts to undermine the will of the people of Chattanooga. Of the 1596 signatures that the Commission rejected, the Coalition found more than 300 to be wrongfully rejected, their rejection of a questionable nature, and not in compliance with Tennessee code of elections section 2-1-107. The Community Control Now ballot initiative only needs 226 additional signatures to be certified to meet the required amount of petition signatures.
According to the Commission, 425 signatories were not registered. Our review found that 43 of the signatures rejected as NR were found to have been properly registered at the address they provided on the petition.
According to the Commission, 97 signatures were rejected for having an invalid signature. Our review found that 79 of the signatories rejected as NO-S were found to have provided a reasonably legible signature, whether printed or in cursive.
According to the Commission, 93 of the signatories were rejected for listing an invalid address. Our review process found that 13 of the signatories rejected as NO-A provided an accurate address that was within city limits. 10 of the signatories rejected as NO-A provided a different address that was located in the same precinct as the address listed in the voter registration document provided by the Commission.
According to the Commission, 933 signatories provided an address that was outside the city of Chattanooga, or outside the precinct listed on their voter registration. Our review process found that 33 of the signatories rejected as NO-P were found to be properly registered at the city of Chattanooga address they provided on the petition. 128 of the signatures rejected with the code NO-P were found to be properly registered to vote in the city, and the Commission rejected their signature based on an antiquated state law disqualifying any signature that has moved to a different voting precinct within the city.
As of today January 12th, 2020, due to these egregious reviewing mistakes, we have submitted a formal general election complaint with the Hamilton County Election Commission for 170+ wrongful petition signature rejections. Our nonpartisan coalition will continue fighting this blatant voter suppression, on behalf of all Chattanoogans, by filing Title III Help America Vote Act (HAVA) complaints to the Tennessee Division of Elections Coordinator, Mark Goins, with an additional 128 signatures. Out of respect and in the spirit of transparency for the greater
community of Chattanooga, the Hamilton County Election Commission owes an explanation as to why these signatures were wrongfully rejected. The commission’s practice.