The Williamson County Election Commission, along with state officials, are suing the city of Brentwood for allegedly denying a request to hold early voting at the library.
The election commission sent an “official notice” to the Brentwood City Library in November declaring that the presidential preference primary and local Republican primary would be held at the facility from Feb. 22 to 28.
But Brentwood denied that notice, prompting the state and the election commission to file suit Friday afternoon. The state claims Brentwood is violating state law by denying the early voting request.
“When a county election commission applies for the use of space in a public building for the use of holding elections, the authority controlling that building is required to make space available pursuant to (state law),” the lawsuit states.
Brentwood City Manager Michael Walker said in a letter to Williamson County Administrator of Elections Ann Beard that there was “lack of available space due to previous commitments to community groups in Brentwood.”
He also said the elections would have an “adverse impact” on programs and the parking situation at the library. In addition, Walker offers up the county’s Indoor Sports Center as a viable alternative to the library.
In a press release posted on the city of Brentwood’s website, the city calls the Election Commission’s actions “without question, a heavy-handed abuse of power.”
“The Election Commission maintains that it has a legal right to unilaterally assume control of space at the Library or any other public facility for its purposes,” the release stated.
“The City of Brentwood strongly disagrees with the Election Commission’s interpretation of state law in this regard, and believes that the aggressive approach taken by the Election Commission’s Chairman in this matter reflects badly on the Election Commission.”
The Williamson County Election Commission authorized the legal action against the city at a meeting on Dec. 15.
The lawsuit asks the Williamson County Chancery Court for an expedited hearing, given that the early voting period was only 47 days away at the time of filing.