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TN Lawmakers Urged to Make Voting Change in Time for November Election

April 7, 2008

Nashville, TN – A new coalition of groups in Tennessee is urging lawmakers to pick up the pace for the "Tennessee Voter Confidence Act." The legislation requires new voting machines that generate a paper record, and that would ensure accessibility for disabled voters. But time is running short to make it happen before the November election, says Thelma Kidd, of the Common Vision Network.

"We don't want Tennessee to be like Ohio or like Florida, where there's a controversy about whether the votes were counted correctly."

Kidd believes paper ballots are the best way to ensure fair and democratic elections, as well as accurate results.
The touch-screen machines now in wide use in Tennessee also are an issue for people with disabilities. Phil Schoggen, with the Tennessee Disability Coalition, says the machines can mean a loss of both privacy and independence for visually impaired Americans, who often need assistance to use a touch-screen system.

"We want persons with disabilities to be able to cast their votes privately and independently -- and verifiably, just like everybody else."

The Common Vision Network is made up of several groups, asking state lawmakers to have new machines in place by August to replace the controversial touch-screen machines.

Deborah Smith/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - TN