NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Tennessee Democratic Party and Marquita Bradshaw Senate campaign have filed a lawsuit against the Tennessee Secretary of State and Coordinator of Elections, accusing officials of withholding absentee ballot records.
The TDP and Bradshaw campaign say the Secretary of State's office and the Division of Elections rejected their requests for a list of voters who have not returned absentee ballots.
Their lawsuit states that because early voting is now over, this information should be made available in accordance to the Open Records Act, citing Tennessee Code Annotated:
"Any information regarding absentee requests and applications shall be confidential and not subject to the open records law, compiled in title 10, chapter 7, until the end of the early voting period." Tenn. Code. Ann. 2-6-202(c)(6)
"This request is an essential, routine tool to allow campaigns to encourage voter participation by making voters aware of the status of their absentee ballot and their voting rights," the TDP said in a statement.
Secretary of State Tre Hargett and Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins are named as defendants.
"Hargett went so far as to instruct all 95 counties’ election offices to not release any information," the TDP's statement goes on to say.
Hargett's Director of Communications Julia Bruck responded to the allegations:
"At best the filing is inaccurate and at worst misinformation. With less than 48 hours before the polls open across Tennessee, this filing further distracts county elections officials from their critical work of conducting this election safely, responsibly, and sensibly."
The lawsuit, filed in Davidson County Chancery Court, calls for an expedited hearing and asks for the records to be made available within an hour, if a court order is granted.