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Tennessee senators push for mail-in voting during COVID-19 pandemic

Knox County polling places are open on President's Day. / Source: (Canva)
Knox County polling places are open on President's Day. / Source: (Canva)(WVLT)
Published: Apr. 29, 2020 at 8:49 AM EDT
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Senate Democrats sent Governor Bill Lee and Secretary of State Tre Hargett a letter asking the officials to take statewide action to allow anyone to ask for a mail-in ballot for the upcoming August and November elections.

The request comes during the COVID-19 pandemic in an attempt to avoid crowded voting sites that may spread the virus. Democrats are urging officials to allow people to vote from home, if they choose, without a specific reason.

"We’re not saying just send everybody a ballot and hope for the best," said Sen. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis). "If you don’t meet the criteria of being over 60 years old but you still think it's important for you to stay at home to vote, you should be able to do that."

Akbari said new cases of COVID-19 were potentially linked to polling sites in Wisconsin.

"That's the last thing we want, we don't want people to have to make that difficult decision," Akbari said. "As a state, we shouldn't choose between the health of our voters and the health of our democracy."

The senators have also asked the state to expand early voting to more locations, and for a longer period to allow more people to have the chance to vote.

On Tuesday, Gov. Lee said he had not yet decided what to do.

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