State Watch

Tennessee court rules all registered voters can obtain mail-in ballots due to COVID-19

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A Tennessee state court ruled Thursday that any registered voter in the state can qualify for mail-in voting. 

Unlike some other states, voters in Tennessee must cite an excuse for why they are not voting in-person.

Outside of the ruling, which only applies to elections taking place this year, only people who are sick, disabled, traveling or elderly are eligible for mail-in voting in the state.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of a group of Tennessee voters.

State litigators argued that moving forward with excuse-free voting would overwhelm the states mail-in voting system. 

In her order, Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle wrote  “the evidence does not support” the state’s claim that it is “impossible” to provide expanded access to voting by mail.

The ruling does not require the state to mail ballots to all registered voters, which some states already do. 

“In this time of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic and its contagion in gatherings of people, almost all states – both Republican and Democrat – are providing their citizens the health protection of a voting by mail option,” Lyle wrote. 

Lyle’s ruling comes as partisan debate about mail-in voting has dominated discourse in Washington, D.C., for the past couple of months shortly before the presidential election.

Several states, which now include Tennessee, have relaxed their mail-in voting laws to accommodate people who fear contracting the coronavirus. 

President Trump and other GOP lawmakers have opposed expanded mail-in voting, which they claim could spur voter fraud. 

Last month, Twitter labeled and flagged one of the president’s tweets, warning users to “get the facts about mail-in ballots” after Trump railed against mail-in voting in California, claiming without evidence that the practice is full of fraud.

Tags Coronavirus Donald Trump mail-in voting Tennessee voter fraud Voter registration
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