September 9, 2019

NASHVILLE - A federal court today denied Tennessee’s request to dismiss a legal challenge to a new state law that would restrict and penalize voter registration efforts. The law, which is scheduled to go into effect on October 1, would impose substantial penalties on groups that foster political participation through voter registration efforts.

The following statements are from:

Theresa J. Lee, Staff Attorney, the ACLU's Voting Rights Project:  “Recognizing the severe burdens identified by our clients, the court rightly rejected the state’s attempt to dismiss this case. Tennessee cannot duck its responsibility. It must ensure access to voter registration for eligible voters and increase political participation across the state."

Danielle Lang, Co-Director, Voting Rights and Redistricting, Campaign Legal Center: “Tennessee’s law has created the country’s most aggressive penalties for voter registration drives. Now the court will have the opportunity to issue a ruling that prevents the state from unlawfully chilling the efforts of organizations working to get people registered to vote. Voter registration drives for years have been a way for historically marginalized groups to empower their communities and gain access to the ballot box. With today’s decision, we are optimistic about our ability to protect that tradition against government threats of fines and jail time.”

Michelle Kanter Cohen, Counsel, Fair Elections Center: “Our clients, and other organizations like them, help make voting and participation accessible to all citizens.  In allowing this case to move forward, the court’s ruling recognizes the critical role of these efforts in our democracy.”

Ruling: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/lwvt-v-hargett-order-denying-motion-dismiss

Case details: https://www.aclu.org/cases/league-women-voters-tennessee-v-hargett

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