NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Davidson County Election Commission certified petitions submitted by a group trying to put a referendum about the Tennessee State Fairgrounds on the August election ballot.
Voters will now decided if the facility should continue in its current capacity. And that the mandate for any changed to the fairgrounds could only be made with a super-majority vote of 27 council members.
"And then there's no losers. The voters of this county will decide on August 4th what to do with the fairgrounds," according to Metro Councilman Jamie Hollin.
When asked by a reporter how the group supporting the fairgrounds would generate enough votes to win the August 4th election, Hollin could not immediately answer.
"That's the million dollar question I'm not answering.... Everyone who signed the petition and more so will have an opportunity to hear from us," the Councilman said.
Attorney George Barrett, who represents a group opposing the fairgrounds called "Neighbors for Progress", said he is uneasy about the referendum process so far.
"There's some very troubling questions about this referendum that have not been answered and we intend to get to the bottom of it and get those questions answered," Barrett explained.
On Thursday, the election commission certified 11,000 signatures submitted by fairgrounds supporters. The petitions came in eight different forms. The commission threw out five of those forms for irregularities.
One example was a set of signatures dated February 2010, one year before the referendum issue came to light.
"(They) took the language of the referendum and pasted it on the top of this petition and presented it to the election commission as if it was a petition signed in 2011 in support of the referendum," according to Barrett.
Barrett said his firm has a lot of investigating to do in this matter, and would not rule out the possibility of legal action.
"We're not ready to make that commitment yet, we're still doing our investigation. We think there's some interesting questions raised that may have to be answered by the court," Barrett said.
There was controversy Thursday over the number of signatures need to make the benchmark for putting the issue on the ballot.
At first, many thought it was in the area of 15,000 names. But after checking case law to determine which election the percentage should be based on, the election commission agreed the number was just over 6,700.
Supporters had nearly double that number of signatures certified.