Shelby Election Commission discusses special election - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Shelby Election Commission discusses special election

By Anna Marie Hartman - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton's flip flopping resignation has put the Shelby County Election Commission in a tailspin, leading the Commission to call a special meeting Thursday afternoon to discuss how to proceed.

At the meeting, commissioners came to the conclusion they cannot proceed until the minutes of the Memphis City Council's last meeting are approved.  Council members voted 7-6 last Tuesday to approve the vacancy of the mayor's seat effective July 30th.

It takes a lot of preparation to conduct a special election.

"They need about 75 days before any election to do all the publications, ballot printing, and everything they need to do," City Council attorney Allan Wade said Thursday.

But while some election commissioners are ready to move forward, Wade says not so fast.

"The Election Commission is not a legislative body," Wade said. "They can't just run off in to the sunset and try to get rid of the mayor or do whatever they want to do."

According to Wade, the Election Commission must get the go-ahead from the Memphis City Council.  The Council accepted Herenton's resignation Tuesday night, but the minutes from that meeting haven't been approved.

"Until the council approves the minutes, it is not a final action by the council," Wade said.

And Wade thinks a lot could happen between now and then.

"They could be reconsidered," Wade said. "They could be modified. They could be deferred. They could be vacated. They could be tabled."

And, if he chooses to, the Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton could change his resignation date again.

Wade says the City Council will have to take the necessary steps before they can officially order the Election Commission to move forward.

The council could approve those minutes and officially vacate the mayor's seat at their next meeting, scheduled for July 21st.

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