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Tennessee Supreme Court hears absentee voter case


The battle continues on whether or not all Tennessee voters will have the option for mail-in ballots in the upcoming November election.

“Naturally, if voters are forced to choose between their health and safety and their fundamental right to vote, it will negatively impact turnout,” Dechert LLP Partner Angela Liu said.

Previously the courts ruled all Tennessee voters have the right to request a mail-in ballot. However, the state is appealing the injunction. The case has now made its way up to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

“There is not a way for the state to completely eliminate the risk and the law doesn’t require the state to completely eliminate the risk,” said Janet Kleinfelter with the Office of the Attorney General.

Each side had 30 minutes to argue their case Thursday. The American Civil Liberties Union and Dechert LLP represented clients requesting a mail in ballot due to preexisting conditions or because they feared voting in person would put their health at risk.

“Under the current conditions of this once in a century pandemic, the requirement to vote in person forces voters to risk their health and perhaps their lives to exercise this most important right,” Liu argued before the court.

It is unclear when the Tennessee Supreme Court will rule on the issue, but the ACLU hoped for a swift verdict in order to provide voters more time to request ballots.