Gov. Bill Lee Not Keen on Voting by Mail in Tennessee

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said Tuesday that fear of catching COVID-19 is not reason enough to vote by mail in the coming elections.

“I think that what we want to do in this state is remove the reason to have fear about going to the polling booths. We have worked really really hard to set up businesses in a way that people can feel safe to go into them, and we’re going to do the same thing with our elections,” Lee said at a press conference Tuesday.

“I talked with the Secretary of State [Tre Hargett]. They have outlined a framework for that. They will be working over the coming months to make sure that we expand the places, the numbers and places with which people can early vote, which will allow for less and less folks at a particular polling place [and] at the same time, make Personal Protective Equipment available, social distancing appropriately, so we want to make it safe for people to get out there and vote.”

As The Tennessee Star reported last week, two legal organizations filed a lawsuit against Hargett in an effort to overturn what they call Tennessee’s “unconstitutional” restrictions on absentee voting.

The lawsuit was filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Campaign Legal Center. The two groups filed the complaint on behalf of several Tennessee organizations “whose many members are not eligible for vote by mail under current law.”

The lawsuit takes issue with three provisions in Tennessee’s election laws, including the excuse requirement for absentee voting, criminal restrictions on helping people obtain absentee ballots, and the authority of election judges to reject absentee ballots if a voter’s signature on their ballot doesn’t match the signature on their voter registration form.

The complaint asks the courts to declare all three of these provisions unconstitutional for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 Update – 5/12

Posted by Gov. Bill Lee on Tuesday, May 12, 2020

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Bill Lee Press Conference” by Bill Lee.





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5 Thoughts to “Gov. Bill Lee Not Keen on Voting by Mail in Tennessee”

  1. gene blurton

    I am an 82 year old man and I feel a person wanting to vote at the machine should. You can carry wipes with you or the officers can disinfect the voting booth after voting.. It would take no longer than 20-30 seconds for this to happen. I believe everyone should have a photo ID to stop voter fraud.

  2. Traditional Thinker

    The liberals know it’s their only chance to win the election or make it close. Voter fraud is the best candidate they have running and they’re dying to use it. They were hoping their man made covid19 might just seal the deal, but conservatives are more stable and common sensible than what the propaganda wants them to believe.These liberal grape nuts and their main stream media mouth piece have been forever exposed, and their credibility shot forever.

  3. 83ragtop50

    The opportunity for voter fraud with mail-in voting far outweighs any inconvenience, if any, that voting in person might present. Showing up with a photo ID is the only method close to providing for a untarnished election process.

  4. William Delzell

    That’s fine if the voting booths are safe, but what if they are not? If we don’t have mail-in voting, people will be denied their right and duty to vote, thereby rigging the election in favor of those who DO show up at risk to their health. The opposition to mail-voting is racially and class-motivated by wealthy right-wingers who want to trample on everybody’s rights. Governor, TRY to be on the right (no pun intended) side of history for a change. Don’t pander to racists.

    1. rb2112br

      No one is being denied their right to vote by eliminating mail-in voting. If you choose not to vote in person simply because YOU don’t feel safe, that is on you. They are taking steps to make voting in person as safe as possible. So again, that is on you if you don’t want to vote in person. No one’s rights are being trampled and it is not racist to deny mail-in voting.