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Campaign Ethics

  • Campaign Finance & Ethics Reform Act of 2021:
    • Requires all statewide candidates and Political Action Committees (PACs) to file an itemized report of spending and contributions regardless of dollar amount.
    • Removes the $100 and less exclusion rule for reporting. All political contributions must be reported.
    • Requires reporting for all 10 days before an election of all independent expenditures and normal expenditures, including PAC money, to candidates or for/against a political measure.
    • Expands the disclosure requirement on campaign and consulting services by members and staff of the General Assembly to services to advise or assist a candidate, political campaign committee, affiliated political campaign committee, or multicandidate political campaign committee in affecting the result of an election, including, without limitation, campaign work, paper and electronic advertising, producing mailers and fliers, and distributing mailers and fliers.
    • It is a Class A misdemeanor to knowingly lie on a disclosure form.
    • Adds cabinet members as persons banned from collecting campaign consulting fees. Current persons banned are: members of the general assembly, member-elect of the general assembly, governor, members of the governor’s staff, secretary of state, treasurer and comptroller of the treasury.
  • HB 2585: The secretary of state must randomly select county election commissions that must conduct an audit after each August and November election starting in 2024. It expands existing audits where three counties will be audited every August and six counties every November to better ensure accurate voting in Tennessee.
  • HB 2128: This bill prohibits an individual who is not a citizen of the United States from voting in a federal, state, or local election and prohibits a county, municipality, or other political subdivision of this state from granting voting rights to a person who is not a United States citizen for an election.
  • HB 1868: Prohibits a county election commission from utilizing instant runoff voting or ranked choice voting to conduct an election in this state for a statewide or local government office. Ranked choice voting asks voters to pick their first, second, third choice for an office and then appropriates votes following these choices. This muddies the water on who the actual first choice of the voters is and is a confusing election process.
  • Appropriation:
    • $15 million appropriation will be used in conjunction with existing funds provided under the Help America Vote Act. 61 counties will benefit from the combined funds to purchase new equipment with a voter verifiable paper audit trail.
    • 45% of TN votes in the 2020 presidential election were cast on voting systems with a paper trail, but all 95 counties are expected to have systems with a paper trail prior to the 2024 presidential election.

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