Tennessee Advisory Committee Recommends Measures That Could Compromise Election Integrity

Image Credit: G Witteveen / CC

The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –

The Tennessee Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued an interim memorandum this week with guidance for overcoming what the committee says are “barriers” to voting within the state.

Among their recommendations are “expanding access to absentee voting, increasing the availability of polling place locations, and evaluating voting procedures to identify and eliminate any disparate impact on protected groups to guarantee the opportunity for all Tennesseans to engage in the political process.”

The committee hosted a series of web briefings this year, from which they gathered testimony as the basis for the memorandum which can be sent to the Tennessee General Assembly and Governor Bill Lee. 

Committee Chair Shaka Mitchell said that barriers to voting became more pronounced during the pandemic in 2020, despite polling places remaining open during voting that year. In the memo, the committee stated that Tennessee “may be a more restrictive voting state than some other states.”

They pointed to the state’s voter registration laws which require Tennessee residents to register to vote at least 30 days prior to the voting period, comparing the state with others that have shorter windows or allow same-day voter registration. The committee also noted Tennessee’s “strict voter identification requirement” – only three other states are “more restrictive.”

Requiring photo ID at the polls instead of only a signature affirming that the named registered voter is present ensures a level of election integrity missing from many states in the U.S. In Tennessee, anyone not able to present ID at the time of voting must present identification to election offices within 2 days for the vote to be made official.

Hedy Weinberg, Director of the ACLU in Tennessee, says that requiring voter ID “has a disproportionate impact on Tennessee’s Black residents” because “up to 25% of Black Americans lack government issued identification compared to only 8% of white Americans.”

Debby Gould, President of League of Women Voters of Tennessee noted that requiring non-drivers to get a photo ID processed at the DMV is problematic as 31 counties lack a DMV center.

The memo also took issue with the state’s laws regarding the restoration of voting rights after serving prison time for a felony calling it an obstacle on voting-aged residents that impact registration and turnout.

After a sentence is served, Tennessee does not automatically restore voting rights. Tennessee is one of only a few states that requires former felons to repay all legal financial obligations before voting and is the only state that requires convicted felons to pay any outstanding child support payments.

Absentee ballot law also came under fire as Tennessee requires voters to have an “excuse” for obtaining an absentee ballot and those ballots must be returned by mail and received by the close of polls on Election Day. In other states, voters are allowed to hand-deliver ballots to election offices and polling places that provide “secure ballot boxes.”

Secretary of State Tre Hargett has refuted some of the details in the memo, pointing out that polling places were not closed in November 2020 due to the pandemic, and that Tennessee’s early voting period starts 20 days before Election Day.

“Although the committee is making recommendations regarding staffing, hours, voting locations, and absentee by-mail voting, the memo has no evidence or examples of individuals who have been unable to vote under existing law regarding these areas,” Hargett said. “Polls close at 7 p.m. Central or 8 p.m. Eastern, unless someone is in line to vote at the time the poll closes. If a person was timely in line that person is allowed to vote.”

The committee will have a meeting open to the public on December 6th, 2022 at 12PM Central.

Interested individuals may register to attend via zoom or phone call. There will be an open period at the end of the meeting for members of the public to make comments.

The committee issues its final guidance in 2023.

About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at paula@tennesseeconservativenews.com.

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11 thoughts on “<strong>Tennessee Advisory Committee Recommends Measures That Could Compromise Election Integrity</strong>

  • November 18, 2022 at 4:57 pm

    As if Tennessee elections weren’t already pure garbage with the pre-programmed-outcome Dominion machines controlled by the TN RINO coalition, they want to destroy what’s left.

    If that garbage goes through, TN becomes CA very quickly, and the exodus begins. Wouldn’t shock me with the RINO traitors who control the state.

    • November 18, 2022 at 5:29 pm

      Could not agree MORE!!!!
      We should have one day to vote with restricted mail in absentee voting by request ONLY.
      We should have hand marked, secure, paper ballots!
      Tre Hargett & Mark Goins need to be fired for the prople who’s votes did not count because of their “mistakes.” Oops that’s it?!?
      500+ people were screwed out of their vote. That is only the ones we know of!

  • November 18, 2022 at 5:27 pm

    We NEED a return to sanity.
    Mail in and drop boxes NEED GONE as well as dimmercrap machines!
    The ONLY mail in SHOULD be absentee with SOUND reason.
    All else, IN PERSON with PHOTO ID!

  • November 18, 2022 at 5:42 pm

    Does anyone understand a dead person won a state representative seat in Tennessee? The cheating from the Dominion machines are now named the Tennessee code? Tre and Mark Goins should be embarrassed! Get rid of the machines including scanners and let this state set an example of how a true transparent election is ran.

  • November 18, 2022 at 6:06 pm

    I keep hearing this lame excuse that certain groups of people can’t vote because of the ID requirement. Requiring voter ID “has a disproportionate impact on Tennessee’s Black residents” because “up to 25% of Black Americans lack government issued identification compared to only 8% of white Americans.” This statement is from this article. If this were true there are a lot of people driving around illegally and buying cigarettes and alcohol illegally too. We need an ID to do a lot of things in this country. That statement is just too instill fear. To bring back integrity to our elections. In my opinion we need no early voting, same day voting, voter ID, no mail in ballots [only exceptions military deployment and medical emergencies] and only use paper ballots that also require signature verification. No electronic devices. Make election day a federal and state holiday. That should eliminate most people not being able to vote. That sounds like a reasonable solution. But it doesn’t fit the other sides narrative. If they are allowed to get their way Tennessee will become another blue state.
    In God we trust not government or man.
    Have a blessed day.

  • November 18, 2022 at 6:50 pm

    Agree a state holiday for a general election. If you look at an absentee ballot there are plenty of reasons one shall be issued. Lack of a photo ID is a canard. Also agree paper ballots and no machines. All this nonsense sounds like the Crump Machine has resurrected itself.

  • November 18, 2022 at 7:34 pm

    Tennessee should set its course by what is right, defends the constitution and preserves the sanctity of the private ballot. We must not fear to be exceptional. We must distinguish ourselves from lesser performing States, not seek ways to emulate them.

  • November 19, 2022 at 2:10 pm

    There is an error code in the machines which is now known to the world as the “Tennessee error”. How embarrassing! Remove the machines. Same day voting, paper ballots, hand counts – creates a secure election of quality. The things proposed by the group covered in this article are not going to secure our elections. They intend to secure ballots not votes.

  • November 19, 2022 at 3:08 pm

    Another crap study… by yet another crap organization. Tennessee does not need to follow other garbage states of election screw ups… such as Arizona. Voting needs to be be simplified, by getting rid of the complications. Time to return to the vote of the Founder’s of this great country.

    Vote… one day… with ID
    Paper ballots, watermarked, hand tabulated. NO MACHINES.
    Absentee, only by bonified request, counted on voting day… not before… not after.
    At the very least… Tre Hargett needs to withdraw his war against the TN Voters Confidence Act, that is TN Law. Quite picking and choosing what to enforce. If it’s law… it’s law.
    Goins is tied to the machine vendors… and needs to resign immediately.
    The only way we keep Tennessee… Tennessee, is to get rid of the “selection” process, and reinstall an actual ELECTION process. This includes the “selection” games being played by the rePublican Party. Allow the voter to decide who we will vote for… not a dark of night “selection” committee.

  • November 20, 2022 at 1:22 am

    If there’s a problem with people getting IDs, FIX THE PROBLEM!. Not requiring ID for voting is ludicrous! Saying black people can’t get IDs is ridiculous and demeaning! Drop boxes and mail in ballots are an invitation to FRAUD! Electronic voting isn’t necessary and is untrustworthy!

    Mess around with TN voting and find out how we feel about it!


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