Gov. Lee Must Reject this Anti-Democratic Bill That Discourages Voter Participation and Hurts Small Businesses
Phil Cobucci, TNSBA Board Member and local small business owner, released the following statement calling on Governor Bill Lee to veto the controversial voter registration bill (Senate Bill 0971 / House Bill 1079). This bill would make it harder for eligible Tennesseans to cast their vote and participate in our democracy:
“SB 0971 / HB 1079 is a clear assault on democracy and does so much to limit large scale voter registration in a state where we were 43rd in voter turnout in the November 2018 election. Our residents have the right to voice their opinions at the ballot box and anything done to impede that process is an insult to the residents of Tennessee and the employees of our businesses. Organizations throughout our state like The Equity Alliance do the hard work of registering residents of our state who have been disenfranchised from participating in our democracy. Simply put, they should not be penalized but rather celebrated for bringing people in our cities and small towns to the ballot box. This bill is the anthesis of that — full stop.
“Governor Bill Lee ran a campaign touting his experience as a respectable and successful business owner with many employees. As a business leader, it is our responsibility to support our employees and encourage them to participate in our democracy no matter what political beliefs they espouse. As such, signing this bill into law should be unthinkable for him. From one business owner to another: Governor Lee, this bill is bad for business, disrespectful of our communities, and an attack on our democracy.
“SB 0971 passed last week mostly along party lines with one lone Republican joining Democrats in voting against this horrific legislation. It’s unacceptable that 25 Republicans in the Senate and 71 Republicans in the House of Representatives knowingly failed our employees of our businesses and the residents of our great state in allowing them the right to register fellow Tennesseans to vote.
“Governor Lee, please do what is right and encourage the vote, don’t allow for opportunities to embarrass our state with one of the lowest turnouts in the nation again. Respectfully, please veto SB 0971/HB 1079 when it arrives at your desk.”