Supreme Court turns down state’s effort to halt expanded absentee voting amid pandemic

The Tennessee Supreme Court has declined to immediately halt a judge’s order that the state must allow any voters concerned about being infected by COVID-19 to cast their ballots by mail. But the state’s highest court did agree to directly take up the full legal challenge of the ruling, bypassing the intermediate Court of Appeals.

Nashville Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle earlier this month found the state’s position that fear of coronavirus infection was not a sufficient reason to request an absentee ballot presented an “unreasonable burden on the fundamental right to vote guaranteed by the Tennessee Constitution.”

When state election officials responded by creating a new category on the application form for those worried about COVID-19 rather than have it covered by the existing medical exception, Lyle called out the state for failing to adhere to her original order.

“Shame on you for not following that procedure and just taking matters into your own hands,” Lyle said in a recent hearing.

While the expedited appeal will speed up the state’s legal challenge, it appears unlikely the high court will decide the case before the Aug. 6 primary. Absentee ballots are already being sent out, and in-person early voting begins on July 17.

22 Responses to Supreme Court turns down state’s effort to halt expanded absentee voting amid pandemic

  • Susan Craig says:

    In the 3rd paragraph, I believe it should have read ,” When state election officials {failed to} respond[ed]by creating a new category on the application form”

    • Erik Schelzig says:

      No, they created a new category. The plaintiffs were worried it could exclude those ballots if they ruling was thrown out. The judge ordered the state to include COVID-19 among the existing category for medical exemptions.

  • John says:

    Karen and Stuart are looking forward to putting on their masks and harvesting ballots for liberal Francis Hagerty the Fourth.

  • Beatrice Shaw says:

    Great that we can mail in ballots now. No more Republicans fiddling with machines

  • LeeAnn C. says:

    I’m pleased that those desiring absentee ballots still must comply with being registered in person or having voted in person during previous elections. I do wish there was a “truth” test. If the individual asking for an absentee ballot due to coronavirus concerns, they must attest to having been in their house 100% of the time since March, never having left to even run to the grocery or Walmart.

    • Frank Gibson says:

      yeah, let’s go suppress some more votes….really. what are you AFRAID of?

      • Stuart I. Anderson says:

        Afraid? TERRIFIED wold be more like it. Democrats becoming real political party in Tennessee capable of electing any number statewide or outside our few liberal ghettos, Biden carrying the state in the Presidential election. . . . Then again, you’re right Frank, I guess there’s not much to be afraid of after all.

      • LeeAnn C. says:

        Suppress? What planet are you on? Registering to vote is very simple. Defining rules as to who can and who cannot vote is not suppression. It’s just assuring that those voting are actually citizens of the jurisdiction. Make that ‘living’ citizens. Surely you’ve heard of voter fraud and the intentions of those that would perpetuate those practices?

    • MARLE says:

      Lee Ann and others….. 34 states Require NO excuse to qualify for mail-in voting. Those states incl the largest electoral vote states and swing states. Ohio, PA, CA, Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan to name a few.

      So if the Nov election is of concern to you what happens in Red State TN is probably of little consequence relative to whether there will or won’t be a lot of absentee votes cast in the presidential election by

      • LeeAnn C. says:

        Point being? I rarely choose to do or not do something purely on the basis of ‘everyone else is doing it’.

        • MARLE says:

          Point being that whether TN decides to refuse even 1 mail in ballot or allows everyone to mail it in…..either way TN and what it decides on this issue will not impact the Nov election one wit.

  • Teddy says:

    The easiest way to illegally manipulate an election is with paper ballots. I have seen it happen.

  • David Collins says:

    Is there a way to legally manipulate an election?

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Well David, not immediately, but if you import impoverished, unskilled individuals with characteristics that make it extremely unlikely that they will assimilate into American society for a number of generations while making it as easy as possible for them to be eligible to vote, I think you can pull it off. For further information contact: Democratic National Committee

  • David Collins says:

    Well yeah, Stuart, I get what you’re saying but if the “imports” are that “impoverished, unskilled individuals with characteristics that make it extremely unlikely that they will assimilate into American society” then they are not likely to ever be able to pass the citizenship exam and without becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen they will not be able to register to vote so really, the answer to my question, is no.

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      David, perhaps somewhere there are people walking around this country who are saying “Damn it, I really want to be a citizen but that damn citizenship exam is just too hard. FORGET IT”!!! but I just don’t know of any nor have I heard of any. If it’s the citizenship test that is standing between us and a congress full of Ilhan Omars and Rashida Tlaibs, if Biden’s handlers/Vice President and a Democratic Congress run the country come next January I’ll save you a place in the Re-education Camp.

  • Keith Richardson says:

    I have it on good authority that Jesus the Christ would want to remove any barriers for residents of Tennessee to vote for who should represent them. The current bunch aren’t doing all that great of a job.

    You know, that thing about rendering into Caesar…

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Whoever your authority is doesn’t know the law, you have to be more than simply a “resident.” I’m inclined to say you have to be a citizen, but I’m not sure if Green Card holders can vote.

      If the Democrats control the government we won’t have to make a decision as to “. . .that which is Caesar’s.” IT WILL ALL BE CAESAR’S !

      • MARLE says:

        The state decides who can vote for State election candidates but I think the ballot they receive cannot include Federal elected positions. I don’t think the state gets to decide eligibility for voting at the Fed level.

  • Christina Norris says:

    In fact there are many people who would like to be citizens who are afraid of taking the citizenship test. IStuart you ought to get out more.

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