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Republicans suppress the vote again in Tennessee

Guest editorial from a Cheatham County Democrat:

Republicans Suppress the Vote Again in Tennessee

Tennessee has one of the most restrictive Voter ID laws in the nation, which already makes it difficult for many people to vote and helps cause our low voter turnout. But apparently Republicans want the turnout to be lower.  On June 2 they had a chance to make voting safer for everyone in Tennessee by supporting a bill that would allow any registered voter to cast an absentee ballot if they feared they would contract COVID-19. After two hours of debate, they refused to allow this bill to pass.

Who will this hurt? Any registered voter less than 60 years old in Tennessee. All voters over 60 are allowed to request an absentee ballot, no questions asked. While this is fine, what’s wrong with younger people being allowed to request one? Is this age discrimination? In Wisconsin, more than 50 people got COVID-19 when they voted on primary election day. This included people of every age.

Also at risk are those who work in the polls. Many poll workers are capable and dedicated senior citizens, but they are at higher risk, especially if they have underlying medical conditions. Poll workers were among the many in Wisconsin who contracted the virus. Were our Republican senators thinking about these poll workers when they voted to continue to limit the number of people who can vote absentee?

There is also legal liability involved. If voters contract COVID-19 because they were not allowed to vote absentee, as they could in other states, could they sue our local election commission, and county or state government for medical expenses? This could prove to be very costly. Can our county governments afford these costs? Will we as taxpayers have to cover these expenses?

Both Democrats and Republicans can benefit when more people can vote safely. In this continuing pandemic, we all need to be able to vote absentee- we don’t need more voter suppression. Contact Governor Lee to support absentee voting for all registered voters.