Chris Anderson recall group challenges petition results
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
The fight to remove a Chattanooga City Councilman may end up in court. Tuesday night the election commission ruled a petition did not have enough signatures. The petition would allow August voters decide whether Councilman Chris Anderson's term should end early.
The group behind the recall had to come up with at least 1,600 signatures, or 15 percent of registered voters in Anderson's District 7. They turned in more than 3,600, but the Commission says not all of them were legit. Now the group claims the list of voters provided to them is inaccurate.
"We went and knocked on the doors that's on this list here. And a lot of those doors we knocked on, the people aren't there anymore," says Gill Schropshire.
Schropshire is president of the Alton Park Neighborhood Association. He and others drafted a letter to the Hamilton County Election Commission saying the list of District 7 voters is 'inflated' and that requiring 1,600 votes for the Chris Anderson recall petition was too high.
"The list that they gave us, is not accurate," says Schropshire.
"Our list is up to date. Yes, it is current," says Kerry Steelman, Administrator of Elections.
Steelman says the commission carefully reviewed every signature.
"We consider a signature on a petition to be as sacred as a vote," says Steelman.
Steelman says an electronic database keeps accurate records of all registered voters in each district and that more than 2,200 signatures, out of the more than 3,600 provided, were not valid.
"There were duplicates, a number of people that were out of the district, no registration on file for some," says Steelman.
In the meantime, Schropshire says the effort to get Anderson out of office is not over.
"It isn't because he's gay," he says. "That's got nothing to do with it. it's because he's not shown, not even tried to meet with the people and let the people know what he's going to do, what's he's trying to do."
"It was about bigotry and hatred and I don't have time for those people," says Chris Anderson.
Anderson calls the group desperate for still pushing the issue.
"That's up to them. Whatever they decide to spend their time doing is totally up to them. I'd rather see them do something to actually help make District 7 a better place, but since most of them are not District 7 or city residents, they really don't care about that," say Anderson.
Unless the recall group challenges the results in court, the recall results will stand. Anderson is still suing the state of Tennessee and Chattanooga, challenging the constitutionality of the recall statute.