Tennessee high court hearing Thursday on mail vote expansion

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(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments Thursday over whether to keep absentee voting open to all eligible voters for the November election due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The hearing comes on the last day to request absentee ballots for the Aug. 6 primary election.

Last month, a state court judge ordered the absentee expansion during the pandemic, and the Supreme Court decided against blocking it for the primary.

The first day to request absentee ballots for the general election is Aug. 5, likely requiring the court to rule quickly.

Tennessee election officials have opposed the expansion of absentee eligibility, arguing it is unfeasible for the 2020 elections and citing some issues experienced in other states.

The groups that sued, including the American Civil Liberties Union, have argued that without the expansion, Tennessee would make many voters choose between risking their health at the polls or forgoing their constitutional right to vote.

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