Editor’s note: This letter was sent to State Sen. Ferrell Haile, State Representatives Johnny Garrett and William Lamberth, and Sumner County Administrator of Elections Lori Atchley.
This letter is a formal request to make voting safe and easy for Sumner County voters and poll workers. We’re sure you agree that the right to vote should never be looked through partisan lens.
As Sumner County Democratic Chair, I would like to request the following steps be taken:
*We currently have online voter registration with a cutoff date prior to elections. This should be waived. *Make same day voter registration available.
*End voter purges.
*Expand early voting by increasing the number of polling locations and extending polling hours.
*Expand access to absentee ballots.
*Give all voters an option to safely vote by mail. This is the best way to preserve and protect our right to vote. It reduces hurdles faced by elderly, disabled and sick people to effectively participate in the democratic process. During this Coronavirus pandemic no one should be asked to choose between their safety and their right to vote. All registered voters must receive a mail in ballot.
*Protect poll workers especially during CIVID-19 pandemic. In Tennessee, the average age of poll worker is 70. Their safety is paramount as they carry out their duty. They must be provided with PPE.
*Tennessee has the highest percentage nationally of unspent federal money for healthcare, education, safe drinking water, and election security. Currently, Tennessee has millions in unspent Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funding available. Eight-six percent of Tennesseans support urgent need to implement modern policies and procedures to protect the integrity and security of Tennessee’s physical & digital election infrastructure, including ballot tracking tools.
It is the right of every American and every Tennessean to not just be able to vote but to be able to vote safely especially amidst the current pandemic. The right to vote is the most important of all our civil liberties. The federal and state governments must do everything in their power to protect & preserve the right to vote at all cost. Our vote strengthens our democracy. You cannot put a price on democracy, it is the way of life in the United States of America.
Thank you for reading and for your expected timely response to this letter on what steps you as a state senator for district 18, the Sumner County Election Commission, Secretary of State Hargett, and Governor Lee will take and have taken to ensure we have safe and secure elections in August and November 2020.
Hana Ali is the chair of the Sumner County Democratic Party.