Court Stops Tennessee's Punitive Law In Its Tracks

Person writing on clipboard
Jeffrey Lichtenstein from the Memphis Central Labor Council goes canvassing to register voters in Memphis, Tennessee. Photo by Casey Atkins/Campaign Legal Center.

federal court blocked a Tennessee law that sought to undermine voter registration in the state. This ruling is a major victory, which derails a law that sought to undercut democracy. CLC and partners challenged the law, which would have imposed substantial penalties on groups that foster political participation through voter registration efforts.

This law punished civic organizations for seeking to help register voters, particularly those in underserved communities. As the court recognized, it struck at the heart of free speech rights and imposed needless and burdensome regulations. Now groups working to help people register to vote can continue their activities, as we continue working to ensure that the threat of criminal penalties from the government is eliminated permanently by a final decision in this case.

Voter registration drives for years have been a way for historically marginalized groups to empower their communities and gain access to the ballot box, and we are pleased that this tradition will be allowed to continue.

Burdensome new policies for voter registration enacted by the legislature this year would only make the problem of low voter registration in Tennessee worse. Hear from Marian Ott, President of our plaintiff League of Women Voters of Tennessee about why we’re glad that the law has been blocked for now.

More information about the Tennessee law from Danielle Lang, CLC's Co-Director of Voting Rights & Redistricting.

Corey handles media relations for the CLC voting rights and redistricting teams and creates online content. Follow @cgfromdc on Twitter