A bill that is deliberately intended to suppress black turnout

Tennessee is going all out on the open, shameless voter-suppression thing.

After enormous black turnout in the 2018 midterms, Republicans are advancing a bill that would penalize voter registration drives.

Gotta suppress that black turnout so that we can elect more proudly racist white people who will support Trump in all his crimes.

The Tennessee Legislature will soon vote on a bill that is deliberately intended to suppress black turnout, even though Tennessee is among the five states with the lowest voter participation.

The bill in the senate would create some of the most aggressive regulations on large-scale voter registration in the nation — like civil penalties for groups that unintentionally file incomplete voter registration forms. It would impose criminal sanctions on organizers who don’t attend training sessions run by local officials and on groups that fail to mail in voter registration forms in a short 10-day window.

Until the Shelby ruling, federal law – the Voting Rights Act – would have blocked all that. The Shelby ruling kneecapped the VRA, and this shit is the result.

This is a clear attack on the successful efforts to mobilize black voters during the 2018 midterm elections. Close to 90,000 black voters were registered by the Tennessee Black Voter Project, led by the activist Tequila Johnson and the Equity Alliance, which partner with my organization, the Black Voters Matter Fund.

[B]lack-led, community-based organizations throughout Tennessee have been registering more voters, turning them out to vote and winning more elections for progressive issues and candidates. The fact that racial progress here has resulted in a white backlash is consistent with Tennessee history. Tennessee’s attack on black-led voter registration is also an escalation of similar strategies seen in Georgia. While he was secretary of state, Brian Kemp aggressively pursued criminal investigations against voter registration groups like the New Georgia Project, founded by Stacey Abrams.

The bill isn’t law yet. Fingers crossed it never will be.

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