The decision to move Nashville's election to May 24 is sending the county's election commission into a frenzy. What usually takes months to plan will now happen in less than six weeks.
There are poll workers to reschedule. All the signs with the wrong dates need to be reprinted and changed out. Voter swag has to be ordered. Jeff Roberts, the Davidson County administrator of elections, says those are just a few of the things to do before voters go to the polls in May.
"It's the traditional supplies you would need. Whether or not it's pins, or 'I Voted' stickers, or all of those things," Roberts said. "You can't just order one day and expect them to be there the next day."
In what's likely the tightest electoral turnaround in Nashville history, Roberts is now responsible for running a May 1 election and then, three days later, starting all over again with early voting for the mayor's race. He said he didn’t get much sleep Tuesday night thinking about all that needs to get done.
"We usually start about four months ahead of an election to prepare," Roberts said. "We have a little over a month to make it happen. So it will mean a lot of overtime for our staff."
Roberts estimates it will cost the county $1 million to put on the special election, which comes after the resignation of former mayor Megan Barry. She pleaded guilty to felony theft after revealing an affair with her head of security. Most of that cost, Roberts says, will go to poll workers who get paid to help voters cast their ballots.