HB1273/SB1500 – Puts a process into current law requiring membership in a party to vote in their primary – Holt/Hensley

Bill Description

This bill provides that a registered voter is entitled to vote in a primary election for offices for which the voter is qualified to vote at the polling place where the voter is registered under the following conditions:
(1) If the voter is registered before the registration deadline of that primary election as being affiliated with that statewide political party in whose primary they seek to vote; or
(2) If the voter was registered prior to July 1, 2019, and:
(A) The primary election is the first primary election the voter has participated in following July 1, 2019;
(B) The voter has not changed their voter registration or selected a statewide political party affiliation since July 1, 2019;
(C) The voter at the polling station during the primary election period completes a valid statewide political party affiliation form; and
(D) The voter selects on the registration form the statewide political party of the primary election in which the voter wishes to vote, in which case the declaration of party affiliation must be added to the voter's permanent registration record.
For primary elections, this bill requires the state election commission to provide and the coordinator of elections to post a sign as practicable to the location where ballots are posted stating persons who were registered to vote prior to July 1, 2019, and who have not yet voted in a primary election after July 1, 2019, and who have not changed their voter registration nor selected a statewide political party affiliation since July 1, 2019, may register your party affiliation today by completing a statewide political party affiliation form. The sign must also advise voters that it is a Class D felony offense to vote in an election that they are not entitled to vote in.

TLRC Position

Approve: We are 100% behind this bill and what it attempts to do: to allow ONLY MEMBERS to select their own candidate of their own party.
In a red state like TN, in most districts, the weaker party has no chance, so they cross over and vote for the candidate from the opposing party who aligns the most with their ideology. This dilutes the ideology of the party overall. That is why we have some members representing a party with a platform that they are not committed to.

TLRC Observed Process

House Elections & Campaign Finance Subcommittee: Passed; Voice Vote - Ayes Prevail
Failed in Local Committee 2/27/2019
Representatives voting aye were: Carter, Rudd -- 2.
Representatives voting no were: Calfee, Carr, Crawford, Faison, Freeman, Hakeem, Helton, Johnson G, Lamar, Moon, Ramsey, Tillis, Travis, Wright -- 14.
There are members who's election and re-election are dependent on votes from members of the opposing party. They are reluctant to relinquish that advantage. Their argument is "no one should be denied a vote" but that is a false argument; they can nominate and vote for a member of their own party or they can change alliances. This applies only to the primary selection of a party's nominee for the general election. These rules would not apply in the general election: Any registered voter can vote for any candidate they choose.
There was another similar bill by Rudd/Pody which also failed.

Vote Result: Failed

Score: +5

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