Last week, Tennessee House lawmakers approved a voter suppression bill that would criminalize voter registration efforts. After rolling the vote twice (thanks to those of you who showed up Mon and Wed), this Thursday, April 25 the Senate will vote on the bill. Make your voice heard — RALLY Thursday April 25 at 8am at the Tennessee State Capitol, Senate Chambers, Floor 2. 600 Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd., Nashville, TN 37243. Wear black. Signs must be 8.5 x 11 or smaller. Please be prepared to stay 1-2 hours (or as long as you can) as the bill may get rolled to the end of the agenda. #engageconnectempower #keepvoterreglegal
TAKE ACTION (2 minutes)
HB1079 / SB971 backed by Secretary of State Tre Hargett, would require groups leading voter registration efforts to undergo training and potentially face fines for submitting too many incomplete forms.
Secretary Hargett’s proposal would create restrictive regulations and the country’s most aggressive penalties* for voter registration drives that don’t precisely follow their new regulations — up to a $10,000 fine and a criminal misdemeanor.
This law would have a chilling effect on any group trying to engage Tennesseans to vote at a time when Tennessee has been in the bottom five states for voting participation in the last three presidential elections.
League of Women Voters President Marian Ott writes in The Tennessean:
State election officials emphasize that this bill (SB971/HB1079) is necessary for election integrity. They assert that it is in response to the 2018 election, when large numbers of deficient and inaccurate registration forms were submitted at the last minute in Shelby and a few other counties.
However, the complaint is about the volume of forms to process, not that ineligible voters were put on the rolls. In other words, the current process worked.
MORE MEDIA COVERAGE
Huffington Post – Tennessee Lawmakers Consider Fines And Criminal Penalties For Voter Registration Drives
The Tennessean – Punitive voter registration drive reform bill is voter suppression | Opinion
Times Free Press – Some voter registration groups could get hit with $10,000 in civil penalties, up to a year in jail for submitting incomplete, problematic forms
Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – Coalition of National and State Organizations Condemns Proposed Voter Suppression Measure in Tennessee
Tennessee Tribune – Hargett Pushing a Bad Voter Registration Bill
Talking Points Memo – TN Sec Of State Pushes Bill Exposing Voter Registration Groups To Criminal Penalties