Davidson County Scraps Plan To Audit Foreign-Born Voters - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Davidson County Scraps Plan To Audit Foreign-Born Voters

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by Chris Cannon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Davidson County Election Commissioners rescinded a vote that would have audited many foreign-born citizens on the election rolls.

The plan was proposed in February by Commissioner Steve Abernathy.The motion passed by a slim majority.

It would have taken all registrations completed at Tennessee drivers testing stations by people not born in the United States and checked for citizenship status.

Federal law states non-U.S. citizens are not permitted to vote in elections.

An opinion from the Metro Department of Law said such a study could possibly lead to legal action against the county.

Aberbernaty's plan created claims of discrimination from several groups. Thursday, supporters and opponents of the idea filled the election commission meeting to capacity.

After an hour of debate, a vote was taken rescind the February decision to conduct the audit.

Instead, the commission will wait for the results of a state audit that was supposed to have completed months ago.

"All this falls back to the Secretary of State's job, to their job. And quite frankly, at this point, they have not done it," said Commissioner Lynn Greer.

Abernathy said he is pleased with the results of the meeting, and the fact the state is supposed to have its audit completed in a few weeks.

"We've been promised to get it by the end of March, or April, so like Patricia Heim said, 45 days, lets hope it happens," Abernathy said.

Opponents of Abernathy's plan welcome the state audit which will review all voter registrations.

"I think we're all in agreement as to the ultimate result, we want to make sure our elections process is verified," said Attorney Gregg Ramos. "I think Commissioner Heim was especially eloquent to say, look we don't need to duplicate that process. That process is already in place, it's on-going and we do not need to spend more taxpayer money to get to the same result."

State Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins released a statement to NewsChannel 5 Thursday afternoon.

"Shortly after I began a comprehensive review of the Davidson County Election Commission's
administration of the 2012 elections, Commissioner Abernathy raised an issue regarding
potential non-citizens who may be registered to vote. The results of my comprehensive review
will be presented to the State Election Commission on April 8, 2013," Goins wrote.

Goins said the results of his study should be made available to county election commissions shortly after the state reviews the findings.


Email: ccannon@newschannel5.com
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