Vice Mayoral Runoff Election May Lead To More Elections

Posted at 7:15 PM, Aug 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-28 18:35:25-04

EDITOR’S NOTE:  In the original version of this story, NewsChannel 5 reported that, if Jim Shulman is elected vice mayor, his at-large council seat would be filled in November. That was based on the opinion of Nashville attorney Jamie Hollin and others. Tuesday, Metro Director of Law Jon Cooper said he believes the vacancy wouldn’t be filled until next August.  The Metro Charter says any at-large council seat would be filled in the next “general’ election – which Cooper says would be August 2019 and not this November. Cooper cited a recent Tennessee Supreme Court decision that says "general election" applies to any municipal general election. He says the November election is not a municipal general election, but a state and federal election. Regardless of the outcome, the case could eventually end up being decided by the court – just like the mayoral election earlier this year.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Voters in Nashville have gone to the polls a lot this year and they could be going a couple more times.  There's a chance we could have a seventh election - with another hefty price tag.

There are two candidates vying to be Nashville’s next Vice Mayor – Jim Shulman and Sheri Weiner. Both are members of the Metro Council.  

Weiner represents District 22 in Bellevue – Shulman represents the entire county as an at-large council member.

Nashville attorney Jamie Hollin says if Jim Shulman wins the race, his at-large council seat would be up for grabs in the November 6 general election. Since it's a county-wide election, it could draw a number of potential candidates. If none of the candidates get at least 50 percent of the vote, it would lead to another run-off election in December.

Hollin worked with council members to find a solution to the problem. They suggested Davidson County adopt instant runoff voting. It would allow voters to label their picks in order of preference rather than choosing just one candidate. An amendment to allow voters to decide whether they wanted an instant runoff failed to pass the Council last week.

"[The] instant runoff voting charter amendment did not happen," said Hollin. "So, in the likelihood of there being a runoff, now there's your $750,000, one-off, stand-alone election in December."

If Sheri Weiner wins the vice mayor election, her District 22 council seat won't be filled until August 2019.