NOVEMBER 1st, 2020 (Nashville, TN) – The Tennessee Democratic Party and the Marquita Bradshaw for U.S. Senate Campaign have filed a lawsuit against state election officials for refusing to release absentee ballot information, as required by state law. The suit names Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett and Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins as defendants.
Tennessee open records law requires the Secretary of State’s office to release, upon request, a list of voters who have not returned absentee ballots by the end of early voting. This request is an essential, routine tool to allow campaigns to encourage voter participation by making voters aware of the status of their absentee ballot and their voting rights.
The Secretary of State’s office refused to release the information after several requests from the Bradshaw campaign and TNDP. An official affiliated with the Secretary of State’s office went so far as to instruct all 95 counties’ election offices to not release any information.
“Transparent administration of the electoral process is central to our democracy,” Ken Taylor, Bradshaw’s campaign manager said. “The statute is clear. Voters have a right to know if their vote was received and counted. To not release the names of those who have and have not returned absentee ballots is not only illegal, it erodes the foundation of our democracy and equates to blatant voter suppression.”
The Tennessee Democratic Party works to elect Democratic candidates who believe that all Tennesseans deserve a better future no matter who you are, what you look like, where you live, who you love, or how you pray.
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