‘English Only’ early voting begins Jan. 2

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Members of the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP), a GLBT rights advocacy group, are urging citizens to vote no on whether Davidson County’s local government business should be conducted only in English.

Early voting on the English Only charter amendment runs Jan. 2 through 17. The special election takes place Jan. 22. If passed, the amendment would designate English as the official language of Metro government, with exceptions for health and safety.

TEP President Christopher Sanders said there are three main reasons to vote against the ballot measure.

"First, if passed, it could disrupt government services to members of the GLBT community whose first language is not English," Sanders said. "Second, by defeating the initiative, we will be sending a strong signal that Nashville is a welcoming city.  Third, by getting involved with the Nashville for All of Us coalition, we are making allies who can be helpful when we advocate a nondiscrimination ordinance for Nashville."

TEP is a member of Nashville for All of Us Coalition, an opposition group which mobilized an effort to defeat the measure. Other members of the coalition include the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau, Metro Nashville Education Association and the ACLU of Tennessee according to nashvilleforallofus.org.

Metro Councilman Eric Crafton has led the ‘English only’ initiative collecting more than 10,103 signatures in favor of putting the proposal on the Nov. 4 ballot. After it was refused due to a legal technicality, Crafton worked to get the special election at an estimated cost to the city of $350,000.

Click here for a list of times, dates and locations for early voting.