Tennessee judge allows vote-by-mail expansion

Published: Jun. 4, 2020 at 9:48 PM EDT
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A Tennessee judge ruled Thursday night that absentee ballots will be allowed for any voter during the COVID-19 pandemic.


the ruling saying, "...the State‘s justifications, for not providing an expansion of voting by mail during the pandemic, are not reasonable, necessary and/or do not exist."

The order goes on to say that the "...State‘s restrictive interpretation and application of Tennessee‘s voting by mail law...during the unique circumstances of the pandemic, constitutes an unreasonable burden on the fundamental right to vote guaranteed by the Tennessee Constitution."

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III released a statement shortly after the ruling, saying, "It is yet another court decision replacing legislation passed by the people’s elected officials with its own judgment, largely ignoring the practicalities of implementing such a decision, and doing so in the midst of a pandemic and budget crisis,” said Herbert H. Slatery III.

, saying that voting by mail could lead to voter fraud. However, some evidence contradicts those concerns. Experts say mail-in ballots are very rarely linked to fraud. One review found only 31 fraud cases in more than a billion absentee and in-person votes cast in the United States between 2000 and 2014

WTVF reported that election officials argued Tuesday that if vote-by-mail was expanded, thousands of voters would see their votes thrown out because voters would be confused about the ballot, thus leading them to make mistakes that would see their votes tossed.

The judge's decision will have to be upheld in an appeals court and the state Supreme Court.

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