You'd be forgiven if you assumed, over the past couple days, that this blog was entirely devoted to the subject of English Only. After all, given that it's the most controversial vote in Nashville's recent history, it'd only make sense to gobble up every scrap of info available to us.
But one thing that's been neglected thus far is any actual judgment of how the chips may fall. As our own Jack Silverman pointed out today, never have so many people been so divided on how a particular issue would fare at the polls. We've heard some say the yesses have it 60-40. We've heard others, speaking with similar conviction, swear by the opposite. Even Channel 4 has gotten into the guessing game. Although we have to admit, their poll results seem dubious
So why not stick to the facts, eh?
According to Joan Nixon of the election commission, roughly 8,200
Nashvillians have cast an early vote on English Only. Now, according to
election law, we don't actually know how those people voted. But, when
breaking down the numbers, we do know this: The vast majority came from
districts 24 (Sylvan Park) and 6 (East Nashville).
What does that tell us? Well, if we had to assume (and we will), the
majority of early, i.e. motivated, voters, are voting against the
measure. It's a theory that Councilman Mike Jameson agrees with,
although he is hesitant to say it's an indicator that the amendment
will be struck down.
"I'm not sure we've got enough votes to win the day," he says. "Maybe we'll get lucky and it'll snow on Thursday."
Presuming to know the outcome is a fool's errand. But one thing we do know: English Only is definitely getting out the vote.
According to Nixon, a 24-year veteran of the commission, this is by far the most "popular" special election in recent history. The stadium query of '96 had more early voters; 34,000 in all. But that turnout can partly be explained by the sheer number of voting stations available. Whereas you can only cast your early English Only vote downtown, seven different polling stations were available for the vote 12 years ago.
So yeah. High early-voter turnout. A high proportion of possibly progressive early voters. Sounds like we might have a decent idea of what might come of next week's vote. But honestly, I'm still pretty sure we're all clueless. Let's just get this thing over with.