Tennessee officials reject vote-by-mail system

Tennessee officials decided Tuesday that the state’s roughly 4 million registered voters will go to the polls in August.

“In consultation with the Attorney General’s office the fear of getting ill does not fall under the definition of ill,” Elections Coordinator Mark Goins told The Associated Press in a statement Tuesday about the viral outbreak.

Some states have shifted universally to a vote-by-mail option, but leaders say that making the change now would be too swift to make the election fair and effective. Republican Secretary of State Tre Hargett says that changing to vote-by-mail would be too large a change to make for a state accustomed to in-person voting.

Officials also warn that, with an influx of absentee voting by those who qualify, results will be delayed.

State leaders did encourage the 1.4 million registered voters in the state who are at least 60 to vote absentee, as any person 60 or older was already allowed to do so.

Tennessee and several other states have faced lawsuits seeking to expand absentee voting. Republican leaders in Texas and Louisiana did not interpret fears of contracting the virus as a reason to vote absentee.

August’s election includes a contested Republican primary for an open US Senate seat.

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