Blocked Tennessee voter signup penalties set for 2021 trial

Nov 7, 2019

Tenn. Secretary of State Tre Hargett championed the state's punitive voter registration law now being challenged in court.
Credit tn.gov

  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee's new restrictions for registering voters aren't scheduled to face trial until February 2021, likely keeping the penalties blocked through the 2020 elections.

U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger scheduled the trial for two challenges of the law that fines groups with paid workers for submitting too many incomplete registration forms , considered a first among states.

It also criminalizes intentional infractions of other new rules with misdemeanor charges.

In September, Trauger halted the law from taking effect while it's challenged by voter registration groups. The state hasn't appealed that decision.

The groups that sued have said the law has already curtailed their ability to enroll voters in communities of color and other historically disenfranchised groups.

Republican Secretary of State Tre Hargett has argued that adding the penalties bolsters election security.