Tennessee gov to weigh bill to punish voter signup missteps

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee will soon decide the fate of Republican-backed legislation critics argue is intended to suppress efforts to register minorities and other voters.

The first-term Republican governor has been noncommittal about the bill, which won final legislative approval Monday. It could allow voter registration groups to face fines for submitting too many incomplete signup forms and criminal penalties for submitting registration forms too late.

The legislation is backed by Republican Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett, who noted that thousands of new voter registrations submitted on the final day of registering last year by the Tennessee Black Voter Project were filled out incorrectly.

The bill easily advanced out of each GOP-dominant chamber despite the outcry by those who say it will make it more difficult to register voters.

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