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A New Church in Tennessee Exists Purely to Help Residents Vote Early

Dissimilar to certain states that are conveying non-attendant voting forms to every single enlisted voter considering the pandemic, Tennessee authorities expect occupants to give an explanation in the event that they need a non-attendant polling form.

Possibly they’re more seasoned, or have an inability, or chose it’s “unthinkable or preposterous” to cast a ballot face to face due to COVID. Be that as it may, in case you’re somebody who simply needs to cast a ballot early, that doesn’t work.

Why do all that? Perhaps because Republicans are worried that making voting easier will benefit Democrats. (Which isn’t even true.) The hurdle of requiring an excuse would disproportionately affect people who can’t take the day off work, or who don’t have cars, or who are more likely to have something come up unexpectedly on Election Day.

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If you believe those people are more likely to vote for Democrats, then there’s an incentive to keep this particular hurdle in place.

But one 27-year-old man is now using a loophole in the law to make it easier for any Tennessee citizen to obtain an absentee ballot and vote early.

State law says one reason you may obtain an absentee ballot is if “You are observing a religious holiday that prevents you from voting in person during the early voting period and on Election Day.”

So if there was a religion that simply declared Election Day — for any election — a holiday, it would serve as a legitimate reason to request a ballot no matter who you are…

Introducing: The Church of Universal Suffrage, an officially registered non-profit religious organization that exists purely to circumvent Republican voter suppression in Tennessee.

It was established earlier this month by Tim Jacobs, an employee of the state’s Department of Environment & Conservation.

We hold regular, weekly Sunday Service where we meditate on the nature of voter suppression and corruption. We also hold every voting day in the United States to be an official holiday reserved for meditation on the nature of voter suppression and in celebration of our inalienable right to vote, endowed to us by our Creator, along with: Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Amen.

And wouldn’t you know it, all those in-person Sunday services have already been canceled for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19… but this is what services looked like last week:

“Group meditation is a form of worship,” Jacobs told me last night. Nothing wrong with that.
The beauty of this church is that all members — and anyone can be a member — can simply tell Tennessee officials their religion considers Election Day a holiday, therefore they need an absentee ballot. (What are Republicans going to do; Get in the way of religious liberty?)

The current list of “holidays” on the church’s website includes the day of Tennessee’s primary, Election Day, and the entirety of the early voting periods for both of those elections. The holidays will change in the future.

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