Next year, we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which gave millions of women access to the ballot box. In fact, it was House Republican Harry Burn — then a 24-year-old — who cast the tie-breaking vote as part of the “War of the Roses” which afforded the women of Tennessee and our nation this important right.
Just as Burn was pivotal in ensuring democracy for this important group 99 years ago, our Republican-led General Assembly continues to worked tirelessly today to support our voters and to encourage them to participate in the electoral process, while also protecting election integrity.
To strengthen our laws preserving the ballot box in recent years, we have passed measures that ensure voters use only certain photo identification issued by the state or the United States as evidence of identification for voting purposes and that our citizens present qualified photographic identification when they head to the polls to cast their ballots.
Additionally, we have implemented procedures to identify and remove non-citizens from our rolls and we have created $1,000 fines for certain voter fraud offenses, while also establishing $1,000 rewards for information resulting in voter fraud conviction.
We also worked to guarantee the accuracy of all voter lists to improve efficiency at locations on Election Day, and we incorporated the utilization of jury lists to help identify ineligible voters. Finally, we established voter registration drive training opportunities to guarantee citizens are accurately and timely registered so they can participate.
To increase voter turnout and to make it easier for our legal residents to vote, we approved legislation that allows votes to utilize online registration, and we have increased the number of college voter registration drives, while also improving the process for legal voters to obtain and cast absentee ballots.
We also provided more location options to voters in certain counties on Election Day through a voter center pilot project, and we have improved the sharing of information related to voter-specific election information through the Secretary of State’s GoVoteTN application.
I am proud to partner with my colleagues and our Secretary of State to remove voting obstacles for the citizens of Tennessee, while also preserving and enhancing election integrity. Our work has allowed us to build upon Tennessee’s proud history as a national civic leader and continue to lead on this important issue.
William Lamberth is the House Majority Leader for the 111th Tennessee General Assembly. He is also a member of the House Finance, House Government Operations, and House Calendar & Rules Committees, as well as the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. Lamberth lives in Portland and represents Tennessee House District 44, which includes part of Sumner County.