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Tennessee Senate OKs bill to punish voter signup group woes

Associated Press • Apr 25, 2019 at 2:11 PM

NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Senate has cleared a bill allowing penalization of paid voter registration groups through fines for too many incomplete signup forms and criminal charges for violating new requirements.

The bill backed by Republican Secretary of State Tre Hargett advanced Thursday. The House needs to vote on Senate changes.

The legislation creates class A misdemeanors if, knowingly or intentionally, groups pay workers based on quotas; or enroll 100-plus voters and shirk state training or fail to ship completed forms within 10 days of registration drives or by the deadline.

Groups submitting 100-plus incomplete registrations over a year could be fined.

Opponents worry the bill will hinder Tennessee’s already-low voter participation.

Hargett’s office has lamented Tennessee Black Voter Project’s submission of about 10,000 Shelby County registrations on last year’s deadline, many filled out incorrectly.

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