Judge blocks Tennessee voter signup penalties, citing harm

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A federal judge has blocked Tennessee’s new restrictions for registering voters from taking effect on Oct. 1 while a challenge of the law proceeds.

Judge Aleta Trauger wrote Thursday that there’s no basis in the record to conclude the law will provide much benefit to Tennesseans, and less reason to think any benefit will come close to outweighing the harm to Tennesseans who wish to exercise core constitutional rights.

The law goes beyond other states by fining groups that pay workers when too many incomplete registration forms are submitted. It also criminalizes intentional infractions of a new set of rules with misdemeanor charges.

Republican Secretary of State Tre Hargett has argued adding penalties bolsters election security. His office didn’t immediately comment on the ruling.

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