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Rep. Justin Jones can remain on 2024 ballot, Davidson County Election Commission rules

Rep. Justin Jones, D-Nashville, will remain on the poll for House District 52 after the Davidson County Election Commission dismissed a qualifying problem from his Republican opponent, Laura Nelson.

The lawmaker’s 25 qualifying signatures, the naked minimal, positioned him in a precarious place with no room for error as Nelson focused three signatures Thursday evening.

Still, Jones survived the problem on a 3-1 vote, with one commissioner abstaining.

“The truth is powerful, and it prevails,” Jones mentioned in the course of the fee listening to, which lasted almost three hours. Jones beforehand characterised the problem as “frivolous” and “political harassment.”

Nelson known as the problem “simply procedural,” although she later accused the fee of violating her due course of after it declined to throw out Jones’ proof package deal.

Rep. Justin Jones, D- Nashville, raises his hand and waits to be called on during a discussing SB 2103 during session at Tennessee Capitol in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday, April 25, 2024.Rep. Justin Jones, D- Nashville, raises his hand and waits to be called on during a discussing SB 2103 during session at Tennessee Capitol in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday, April 25, 2024.

Rep. Justin Jones, D- Nashville, raises his hand and waits to be known as on throughout a discussing SB 2103 throughout session at Tennessee Capitol in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday, April 25, 2024.

Nelson final month challenged almost half of Jones’ qualifying signatures, submitting to the fee a string of alleged inconsistencies, together with mismatched handwriting kinds, an uncrossed “t,” a misspelled title and the title of a metropolis avenue, which was modified final 12 months.

On Thursday, she dropped most of her challenges to focus on three names. Nelson didn’t present any professional witness testimony past declaring perceived inconsistencies in handwriting and signature kinds.

Jones offered signal affidavits from the unique 10 signatures Nelson challenged, and a few of them testified on the listening to in regards to the legitimacy of their signatures. Jones criticized Nelson’s case, saying at one level he was “not going to play amateur CSI” to rebut Nelson’s handwriting evaluation.

The listening to grew unusually contentious amid frequent cross-talk between the camps, as supporters of every candidate at occasions shouted out. At one level, election fee chair Jim DeLanis banged his gavel to quiet the group as witnesses have been sworn in.

“I’ve never done that before,” DeLanis mentioned.

Jones additionally clashed Thursday with Tennessee Elections Coordinator Mark Goins, a one-time Republican consultant within the General Assembly. Goins will not be a voting member of the fee however has the power beneath Tennessee regulation to sit down in on the fee.

Among the seated commissioners, Goins raised essentially the most queries about Jones’ qualifying petition, honing in on a single voter whose authorized title is “Jennifer.” On Jones’ qualifying poll, she printed her title as “Jenifer.” Goins advised he was skeptical that an individual would misspell their very own title.

DeLanis pressed Jones on why his marketing campaign did not ask her to elucidate the discrepancy in her affidavit. In an eleventh hour transfer, a Jones employees member managed to get the voter on the cellphone. The fee allowed her to be sworn in as a witness, and he or she defined she typically goes by the nickname, “Jen,” and had printed her title in a rush.

Nelson, who unsuccessfully challenged Jones in final 12 months’s particular election, initially tried to argue the lawmaker missed an proof deadline, claiming her marketing campaign didn’t have time to assessment and submit supplemental proof.

The fee, nonetheless, disagreed with Nelson’s characterization. Commissioner Tricia Herzfeld laid out the evidentiary timeline, stating that as a result of Nelson was difficult Jones’ licensed poll, the burden was on the Nelson marketing campaign to offer proof of her problem by the preliminary proof deadline. Jones offered his proof package deal to the fee by a later, “supplementary” proof deadline.

Commissioners voted to simply accept Jones’ proof, agreeing that Jones’ affidavit proof was submitted appropriately given his proof was in response to Nelson’s problem.

“We were discriminated against,” Nelson mentioned of the fee permitting Jones’ affidavits into proof.

This article initially appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Nashville’s Rep. Justin Jones can remain on ballot, commission rules

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