Big Tech and Corporate America may face more difficulty funding the elections process under the “Tennessee Election Integrity Act.” In part, the act would require funding from nongovernmental entities to be approved by the Tennessee General Assembly if in session, or the Governor, House and Senate Speaker, Secretary of State, Comptroller of Treasury, and the General Assembly Treasurer. Additionally, an amendment to the act announced on Tuesday would make it more difficult to produce fraudulent absentee ballots.
In short, the amendment to the bill would require non-electronic absentee ballots to be watermarked by local election commissions. That way, county election officials could verify the validity of the ballots upon receipt. Ballots without the watermark would be discarded.
The bill, sponsored by State Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) and State Senator Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald), is making its way steadily through the General Assembly.
“It’s adding an election safety measure so that it’s not just a piece of paper somebody could reproduce,” said Griffey. “It’s gonna have to have this watermark on it for absentee ballots.”
Big Tech and Corporate America poured significant funding into elections processes nationwide last year. Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg poured hundreds of millions into local election offices – Democratic strongholds were the main recipients. Their involvement raised widespread concern over the integrity of the election.
The original fiscal impact noted under the bill prior to the amendment said that there wouldn’t be a significant impact. State Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston) inquired during Tuesday’s committee hearing about the fiscal impact of requiring local election offices to add watermarks.
The chairman, State Senator Richard Briggs (R-Knoxville), clarified that the fiscal impact was under the sweeper, meaning that it wouldn’t be considered significant.
Griffey didn’t respond to request for comment from The Tennessee Star by press time.
Both the House and Senate advanced the bill on Tuesday. It was recommended for passage by the House Local Government Committee and the Senate State and Local Government Committee.
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