Democrats successfully sue to extend voting hours in areas affected by Tennessee tornadoes

Democrats successfully sue to extend voting hours in areas affected by Tennessee tornadoes
© Greg Nash

A Tennessee county judge has ruled that several polling sites in areas that were hit by deadly tornadoes in the state can remain open longer than previously permitted during Super Tuesday.

Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle ruled that five polling sites in areas surrounding Nashville would be allowed to remain open until 10 p.m. CT and that other places would be permitted to accept ballots until 8 p.m. CT. 

The ruling came after the Tennessee Democratic Party and four Democratic presidential campaigns filed a lawsuit in Davidson County seeking a legal injunction to extend the time polling locations remained open, The Tennessean reported


The candidates — Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersRestless progressives eye 2024 Key senators to watch on Democrats' social spending bill Five ways Senate could change Biden's spending plan MORE (I-Vt.), former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden to provide update Monday on US response to omicron variant Restless progressives eye 2024 Emhoff lights first candle in National Menorah-lighting ceremony MORE, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenRestless progressives eye 2024 Poll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run Biden eyes new path for Fed despite Powell pick MORE (D-Mass.) and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg — reportedly argued that voters' constitutional rights would have been violated if they weren't granted more time to vote after the tornadoes. 

Hobbs Lyle ordered several polling stations to remain open as late as 10 p.m. following an emergency hearing. The Tennessee Democratic Party labeled the ruling from Hobbs Lyle a "a victory for voters."

A string of tornadoes ripped across parts of Tennessee overnight Monday, demolishing more than 100 buildings and killing at least 25 people, according to The Associated Press. Tornado damage reportedly caused 21 polling locations in Nashville to close, reportedly causing unusually long lines at sites that stayed open. 

Voters in Tennessee and 13 other states, including delegate-rich Texas and California, headed to the polls Tuesday in what likely will be pivotal day in the Democratic presidential primary. Sanders entered Tuesday as the front-runner to win the Democratic nomination.

However, Biden has appeared to emerge as Sanders's greatest threat in the race following a decisive victory in South Carolina over the weekend. 

The win was followed by a jolt in fundraising and a wave of endorsements, including from former Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigeg and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharKlobuchar confident spending bill will be finished before Christmas Sunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variant emerges; supply chain issues and inflation persist The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden renominates Powell as Fed chair MORE (D-Minn.).