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Tennessee updates mail voting application after court ruling

August 7, 2020 GMT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee election officials have updated the absentee ballot application for November to reflect that the state Supreme Court eliminated an expansion of mail voting during the coronavirus pandemic.

Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s office says voters who have underlying health conditions particularly susceptible to COVID-19 can get absentee ballots by selecting the “illness or physical disability” on the application. Caretakers of those voters can select the caretaker excuse. The application itself doesn’t mention underlying health conditions or COVID-19, but the secretary of state’s website does.

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Voters themselves will determine under penalty of perjury whether their underlying conditions qualify.

In a news release, Hargett and Elections Coordinator Mark Goins say “if a voter is too ill to go to shopping centers, Walmart, Home Depot, or other public places then they are probably too ill to go the polls and conversely, if you are going to those other places then common sense would indicate the voter is well enough to go to their polling place.”

This week, the Supreme Court sided with the state and overturned a June lower court ruling that offered absentee voting to all eligible voters during the pandemic. Ballots cast under the ruling still counted for the primary election Thursday.