A federal court Thursday blocked a recent law that put stringent restrictions on voter registration in Tennessee.
The law, which was signed by Gov. Bill Lee in May, prohibits voter registration groups from submitting incomplete voter registration forms.
If the groups do so, they face fines and potential criminal punishment.
Immediately after the bill was signed, groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the League of Women Voters of Tennessee filed lawsuits against the state.
“The League’s position (on the law) has been anything that could be perceived as discouraging voters is a bad thing,” Vandy Kemp, vice president of the local LWV said in a phone interview.
Blocking of the law comes at an opportune time as the next month is historically a time of large efforts at registering voters.
Set to go into effect on Oct. 1, the law would hinder many voter registration drives from taking place in the week before the voter registration deadline on Oct. 7.
Additionally, September is National Voter Registration Month. Voting rights groups are especially busy during this time, which makes the ruling even more timely, opponents of the law said.
“Many community partners halted registration activities to avoid the hefty penalties associated with this law, but now we can all get back to the important business of equipping voters for our upcoming elections,” Marian Ott, director of the LWV of Tennessee, said in a Thursday press release.
This has been the case in Blount County where voter registration events have been put on hold.
“We were kinda quietly waiting,” Kemp said.
Susan Knopf, Blount County administrator of elections, said that the law would not greatly affect Blount County.
This is because voter registration drives in Blount County rarely turn in incomplete forms, Knopf said.
“To my knowledge, there has never been a deficient voter registration drive,“ she said.
Regardless of the integrity of the previous voter registration drives, Kemp and the local LWV are anxious to get back out and register new voters.
“Now that there’s been at least a tentative decision, we’ve got to get to work,” she said.