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State Party Chairman to Certify Presidential Primary Ballots

This information is provided by the office of 28th District State Sen. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald, who represents Giles, Lewis, Marshall, Maury and part of Williamson counties.

Sen. Hensley continues to explain legislation passed in the 113th General Assembly, which has adjourned for 2023. Certifying Presidential Primary Ballots - This law requires candidates for president on the primary ballot to be certified by the State Party Chairman , rather than the Secretary of State, the previous certifying authority.

The law requires the state coordinator of elections to certify to county election commissions which names will appear on the ballot for each political party.

It also requires members of the State Election Commission to disclose if they receive payment for any services related to elections.

Failure to timely disclose election services is cause for removal. This provision is intended to prevent conflicts of interest for serving members.

Preventing abuse of fail-safe balloting - This law strengthens election integrity in Tennessee by putting in protections to prevent abuse of “fail-safe balloting.”

Under this process, if the address on a voter’s ID does not match his/her current address, then that voter casts a fail-safe ballot and signs an affidavit stating that he/she does not live at the address where the vote is cast.

This law allows a candidate to request a list of voters who changed their address at the polling place to vote in the election along with copies of the fail-safe affidavits.

The law also states that in a recount, the state election commission must verify address of all fail-safe ballots.

Enhancing awareness of elections rules - This law requires the officer of elections at each polling place to post a sign on election day informing voters that it is a Class C misdemeanor to vote in a political party’s primary without being a bona fide member of or affiliated with that political party.

Procedural changes for polling places - This law removes the requirement that a voter’s Social Security number be part of the information that election offices send to precincts on election day.

This change prevents sensitive information from being released to the public. It also removes the antiquated requirement that colored ballots be used for primary elections and requires polling places to have a printed polling book in addition to an electronic one.

Ensuring correct voter precincts – This law will ensure that voters are voting in the correct precinct and district.

It will require the state coordinator of elections to submit a list of registered voters to the Comptroller after redistricting every ten years.

The Comptroller must then compare the list of registered voters to the Comptroller's geographic information system data to ensure that each registered voter has been assigned to correct congressional, state, and county governing body districts.

This measure will help with any confusion in redistricting.

Streamlining Special Elections - This law removes the requirement that a local governing body must wait 90 days before notifying the county election commission for a special election and instead allows the board of commissioners in cities that operate under a city-manager commission charter to call for a special election to fill a board vacancy.

The board of commissioners can invoke this option by a two-thirds majority vote of the board.

Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance staff - Under a new law, the Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance Executive Director can hire or replace Bureau staff without board approval. The law also simplifies procedures for the Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance, increases its ability to effectuate responsibilities and decreases annual costs to save taxpayer dollars. Furthermore, it establishes procedures to address and write off civil penalties that cannot be collected due to death or other issues and allows the registry and ethics committee to use email for notice to filers.

Registry of Election Finance This law strengthens laws governing the state Registry of Election Finance by expanding oversight of political campaigns.

The law limits campaign contributions that a candidate can collect after an election by requiring candidates no longer in office with a balance in their campaign account to submit bank statements with their campaign finance reports.

The law also clarifies that the registry and the attorney general can investigate complaints against candidates and political action committees. It gives the attorney general and the district attorneys general more ability to investigate sworn complaints.

Tennessee Ethics Committee - A new law will simplify and streamline procedures for the Tennessee Ethics Committee, including disclosures, annual reports, and informal advisory opinions.

It also requires more additional information to be reported to the commission by local governing bodies and creates an annual reporting requirement for members and staff of the General Assembly contracted to provide campaign services for longer than 12 months.

Cognitive Tests for Constables- A new law will require candidates for constable to undergo a cognitive and psychological test attesting mental and cognitive fitness to perform their duties.

The test is to ensure that elected officials can effectively carry out their duties.

Sen. Hensley may be contacted at 425 Rep. John Lewis Way N., Suite 742, Nashville, TN 37243 or by calling 615-741-3100, or toll free at 1-800-449-8366 ext. 13100 or fax 615-253-0231.

His district address is 855 Summertown Highway, Hohenwald, TN., 38462, or phone 931-796-2018, or call his cell phone at 931-212-8823 or e-mail: sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov

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