WASHINGTON — The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee is opposing Republican legislation to restrict voter registration in Tennessee and calling on Senate District 22 special election candidate Bill Powers to condemn the legislation.
“These restrictions are a blatant attack on voters and the organizations that work to register them,” said Jessica Post, executive director of the DLCC. “Bill Powers must put Tennesseeans before partisan politics and condemn this unconstitutional attack on voting rights.”
The bills, HB 1079 and SB 971, would place strict new guidelines on groups registering voters and penalize mistakes with criminal charges and fines. Similar legislation was passed in Florida before being ruled unconstitutional in federal court. Juanita Charles, the Democratic candidate in Senate District 22, opposes the restrictions and is holding Powers accountable for his silence on the legislation.
“The politicians in Nashville should be making it easier for all Tennesseans to register, regardless of whether they’re a Democrat or a Republican,” Charles said. “Bill Powers’ silence on this issue speaks volumes. Powers is running to represent the special interests and extremists in his party — not the people of our district.”
Voter registration organizations have accused Republicans of pushing the restrictions in reaction to last year’s mobilization efforts. The state saw 65,000 people register to vote after Taylor Swift endorsed Democratic candidates on Instagram in the lead up to the 2018 elections, according to Vote.org.
“Are Republicans so afraid of Taylor Swift and young people that they are willing to violate the constitution and Tennesseans’ civil rights? They need to shake it off and do their jobs, ” Post said. “In the state Senate, Juanita Charles will actually work on the issues important to voters — and this attack on civil rights is going to motivate Democrats to support her in the upcoming special election on April 23.”
The DLCC endorsed Charles in its candidate Spotlight Program on Tuesday, highlighting her commitment to her country and community as a former member of the Armed Forces and a small-business owner. The Senate District 22 special election will take place on Tuesday, April 23.