The Tennessee Conservative [By Kelly M. Jackson] –
Two new pieces of legislation being brought before the state General Assembly seek to confront and remedy an old problem: outdated voter rolls and their impact on voter integrity.
These two new bills introduced by State Senator Joey Hensley (R- District 28- Giles, Lewis, Marshall and Maury counties) propose new processes that will target and exclude those who have either died, moved out of state, or are not legally registered voters due to being non-citizens of The United States.
SB0136, as introduced, requires reports of deaths in relation to maintaining voter registration lists to include the date of the death; requires the coordinator of elections to prepare a report for the general assembly regarding deaths of registered voters. – Amends TCA Title 2, Chapter 2, Part 1.
SB0137, as introduced, requires the coordinator of elections to compare the statewide voter registration database with those of other relevant state agencies and county records when compiling information to distribute to the county elections commissions for purposes of purging voters who have moved; requires the coordinator of elections to compare the statewide voter registration database with the department of safety database to ensure non-United States citizens are not registered to vote in this state. – Amends TCA Section 2-2-106 and Section 2-2-141.
The Tennessee Conservative reached out to Kathleen Harms, a member of the Tennessee State Coalition, a local grassroots organization which partners on a number of initiatives including Voter Rolls, Citizen Research, and Technology with the Election Integrity Network, or also known as EIN, initiated by Cleta Mitchell and works in partnership with groups such as the Virginia Institute, The Foundation for Government Accountability, The Public Interest Legal Foundation, and The Center for Renewing America.
When asked if the legislation does enough to move toward a permanent fix of the numerous voter integrity issues here in Tennessee, Harms had this to say:
“These are a beginning, not an end to cleaning up voter rolls. One (of the proposed bills) corrects a problem from last year. It changes the language from ‘may’ to ‘shall’ for (checking) a person’s legal status to vote in this state.”
Harms statement is a reference to the optional nature the current law affords to the State Coordinator of Elections, when proceeding through the voter registration process. Currently, there is no obligation for the State Coordinator of Elections to check SAVE (Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements) to ensure the potential voter is legally entitled to vote in the United States based on their immigration status.
Harms continued, “The other deals with ensuring proper documentation and filing of data when reporting of removing dead voters from the voter rolls. This creates a process to ensure that things like dates of death are in the record. There are many aspects to voter rolls and their systems. These are only 2. We need to do more with our vulnerable voter rolls that include those requesting an absentee ballot for civilians overseas, protecting our voter data from 3rd parties, active/inactive voters and exploitation of our systems…We intend to continue to utilize these types of resources to advance policy, practices, and legislation in vulnerable areas.”
If the bills pass through the legislative process successfully, they will go into immediate effect once they have been signed into law by Governor Lee.
About the Author: Kelly Jackson is a recent escapee from corporate America, and a California refugee to Tennessee. Christ follower, Wife and Mom of three amazing teenagers. She has a BA in Comm from Point Loma Nazarene University, and has a background in law enforcement and human resources. Since the summer of 2020, she has spent any and all free time in the trenches with local grassroots orgs, including Mom’s for Liberty Williamson County and Tennessee Stands as a core member. Outspoken advocate for parents rights, medical freedom, and individual liberty.