General Assembly Passes Tennessee Election Integrity Act Requiring Ballot Watermarking

After Senate passage yesterday, the House passed the “Tennessee Election Integrity Act” requiring watermarking on paper absentee ballots. Local election commissions would be required to create unique watermarks for paper absentee ballots. Additionally, election officials must write the word “rejected” and the reason for rejection across the face of a rejected ballot.

Only one individual voted against the bill – State Representative Jason Powell (D-Nashville). Powell didn’t give an explanation on the House floor hearing as to why he voted against the act. As The Tennessee Star reported on Monday, the bill received unanimous and bipartisan support in the House.

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Tennessee Senate Passes Election Integrity Act Requiring Watermarks on Ballots

The Senate passed the “Tennessee Election Integrity Act,” which requires each county election commission to put watermarks on their ballots. Electronic absentee ballots would be exempt. The act received unanimous, bipartisan support.

Under the Tennessee Election Integrity Act, each county election commission must have their watermark approved by the state coordinator of elections. None of the publicly-available sample ballots will have the watermark. Additionally, signature verification of the voter on absentee ballots will no longer be considered the final verification necessary before counting the ballots – the approved watermark will be. If an absentee ballot is rejected, the official must write “rejected” across its face and include the reason for rejection.

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