(NASHVILLE, Tenn.), January 15, 2016 – Senate State and Local Government Committee Chairman Ken Yager (R-Kingston) and House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga) have filed legislation providing for the establishment of an online voter registration system for Tennesseans. Voters with an unexpired driver’s license or personal identification card issued by the Department of Safety will be able to go to an official state website where they will be able to register to vote online.
“In an electronic age, it makes sense to provide electronic registration if we have proper safeguards and validation steps,” said Senator Yager. “This legislation provides those assurances to make voter registration more convenient for Tennesseans and hopefully encourages more citizens to participate in the election process.”
“Online voter registration supplements the traditional paper-based registration process and will help encourage more Tennesseans to become involved in the political process,” said Representative McCormick. “We serve at the will of the people and I look forward to having even more constituents provide their input on important legislative decisions made within the General Assembly.”
Under Senate Bill 1626 / House Bill 1742, the voter registration application would be reviewed electronically. If the request is confirmed to be valid, the new registration would be added to the state’s voter registration list after being reviewed by the respective county election commission office. The validation step is done by comparing the information on the online registration form against the information provided by the same individual when he or she received a driver’s license or their state-issued identification card.
“This is an opportunity for us to meet customers, the taxpayers, where they are and provide them yet another way they can register to vote. Tennesseans will have the ability to register from the comfort of their homes and even in the palm of their hands on mobile devices,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett who is advocating for the bill. “This proposal is about making government work better for its constituents.”
The signature already on record with the state would become the signature on record for voting. If the information does not match, the applicant would be directed to print and complete the application and mail it to the county election commission office in their county of residence to be processed.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a total of 29 states plus the District of Columbia offer online registration, and another two states have passed legislation to create online voter registration systems, but have not yet implemented them.