Gov. Lee will expand early voting amidst pandemic, but won't allow universal vote by mail

May 13, 2020


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) -- Gov. Bill Lee said Tuesday he wants to make Tennesseans “comfortable” with voting in-person despite their coronavirus fears.


Lee was reacting to Monday’s announcement by State Elections Coordinator Mark Goins that fear of contracting the virus will not be accepted as a valid reason for voting by mail.


Gov. Lee said the state plans to expand early voting options and adopt social distancing measures at the polls to make voters more comfortable with turning out in-person.


Two separate lawsuits have been filed seeking to force the state to make the vote by mail option available to all Tennessee voters.


The registration period to vote by mail in Tennessee opened May 8, and will close July 30 for the August 6 primary and general elections.