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Governor will not allow widespread absentee voting

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The registration to vote in the Nov. 3 general election is Oct. 5.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said during his COVID-19 briefing Tuesday he will not allow voters to mail in their ballots due to fear of contracting the coronavirus.

“What we want to do in this state is remove a reason to have fear about going to the polling booths,” Lee said. “We have worked really, really hard to set up businesses in a way that people can feel safe to go into them, and we're going to do the same thing with our elections.”

He said the state will work to ensure the expansion of polling locations during early voting to allow the voting process to be more spread out and implement appropriate usage of personal protective equipment and social distancing.

State Sen. Majority Leader Jack Johnson said during a recent community event he shares this view about absentee ballots as well.

“We’re not going to go to blanket ‘anyone can vote by mail,’” Johnson said. “Voting by mail has been proven to be right for potential fraud and abused ballot harvesting — some things that have taken place in other states.”

Currently, any Tennessean over the age of 60, with a disability or with an illness can vote by mail, and Johnson said the state will look into increased safety measures for people to continue to vote in person.

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