State: No perjury charges if mail voters claim COVID risk

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FILE – In this Nov. 1, 2016, file photo, mail-in ballots for the 2016 General Election are shown at the elections ballot center at the Salt Lake County Government Center, in Salt Lake City. As President Donald Trump rails against voting by mail, many members of his own political party are embracing it to keep their voters safe during the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An attorney for the state says Tennessee authorities cannot pursue perjury charges against voters who seek mail ballots by concluding they or someone in their care have health conditions that increase their risk for COVID-19.

Deputy Attorney General Janet Kleinfelter made the statement Thursday during questioning by Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle. After Tennessee’s Supreme Court overturned a vote-by-mail option for all eligible voters earlier this month, the state removed mentions of COVID-19 from the absentee ballot application.

Plaintiffs argue the form doesn’t follow the Supreme Court’s order requiring instructions for people with underlying health conditions.

The state notes underlying conditions are mentioned on its website.   

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