We're one step closer to having the domestic partners benefits on the August ballot in Chattanooga.

Hamilton County election officials today "certified" the signatures on a petition to get this on the ballot.

You may recall City Council voted last month to extend benefits to domestic partners. Then, a group opposed to the decision worked to get the issue on the ballot. They submitted the necessary 4,500 signatures December 3.

The group "Citizens For Government Accountability and Transparency" surpassed the necessary number of signatures to get this on the ballot. The group's leader Mark West said he's very pleased with the result. And Monday, it was officially announced, the election commission certified most of those signatures.


  • 4,469 Signatures NEEDED
  • 11,104 Signatures SUBMITTED
  • 7,755 Signatures APPROVED

After reviewing each and every signature, the Commission threw out some of the names for a number of reasons and decided that 7,755 of the collected signatures are certified. And still enough to put the issue to public vote.

Administrator of Elections Charlotte Mullis-Morgan explained in this morning's Commission meeting that they carefully checked the petition to make sure every signature met the right criteria.

Commission workers initially stopped counting shortly after they verified at least 4,469 names. But Mark West fought back, saying that decision would "disenfranchise" the others whose signatures would not be counted.

Ultimately, the commission checked every single signature. The entire process took a week.

"We just decided it would be the best way to go. they met the initial 4,469. And we had stacks more, so we felt maybe it would just be best if we went ahead and counted them all," said Charlotte Mullis-Morgan.

City Council has the chance to repeal the measure but we're told that's not likely. Otherwise, this goes to you for a vote in the general election set for August 7, 2014.