Civil rights groups sued Tennessee on Thursday over a controversial new law that will subject voter registration groups to potential fines and criminal penalties, saying the measure is unconstitutional, vague and will intimidate people from helping others sign up to vote.
The lawsuit was filed the same day Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed the law, which is set to take effect Oct. 1. It will allow officials to penalize paid voter registration drives that turn in 100 or more incomplete applications with fines of $150 to $2,000. If 500 or more deficient voter registration applications are submitted, the groups could be fined up to $10,000.
The law also mandates that voter registration drives turn in applications within 10 days of collecting them. It requires paid voter registration drives to register with the state and to put a disclaimer on any public voter registration material that it is not endorsed by the Tennessee secretary of state. Anyone who knowingly violates those provisions could be subject to a class A misdemeanor, punishable in Tennessee with up to nearly a year in prison, a $2,500 fine or both.
See full story here.