State Sen. Janice Bowling has pulled her bill which had proposed ending Tennessee early voting and stopping the use of voting machines.
Bowling removed the bill from legislative consideration without much fanfare on Tuesday. The Warren County Commission didn’t realize the bill had been pulled when it met Tuesday night and unanimously passed a resolution to show opposition to it.
When asked by text message on Wednesday if she wanted to comment on her reasons for pulling the bill, Bowling responded, “Not really.”
The bill drew immediate criticism for its intention to end early voting, which is extremely popular, and it’s stated purpose of ending the use of voting machines and returning to paper ballots.
Bowling defended the bill, saying such measures are needed to restore voter confidence in our elections.
During Tuesday’s meeting of the full Warren County Commission, Commissioner Robert Hennessee said he had received negative feedback from constituents about Bowling’s proposal.
“I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me as their commissioner and say they are adamantly against eliminating early voting,” said Hennessee. “The general consensus throughout the conversation I had with the commissioners was we are all in support of this motion simply because early voting and the opportunity for our county and the residents is something we would like to keep.”
The measure was not on the docket for consideration, which drew some criticism due to Hennessee discouraging those types of activities from other commissioners.
“You’ve made comments in the past about us bringing things up during the meetings and the need for us not to do that,” said Commissioner Joseph Stotts. “I’m just throwing that out there. Yet, here we are doing it.”
Hennessee said he reached out to as many commissioners as he could prior to the meeting and felt the measure was too time-sensitive to wait until March.
“I agree with him wholeheartedly on his concerns about bringing forth the motion,” said Hennessee. “This is a very time-sensitive issue that effects every citizen of this county. Therefore, I felt a sense of urgency to do this. I certainly appreciate your comments, Mr. Stotts, just the same.”
Since Bowling has pulled her bill from consideration, the county won’t pursue writing and sending her the resolution.