Tag Archives: polling

Polling PR Clears Up Tennesseans’ Views on Immigration Bill

Here are two news releases distributed to Tennessee media as the U.S. Senate considers a landmark immigration bill:
First, from the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition:
Nashville – According to the results of Harper Polling, an independent polling firm, over three-fourths of Tennessee voters support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers and families already here. Over three-fourths also think the bill currently in Congress is tough but fair, and want Senators Alexander and Corker to support it.
The poll offered several questions relating to immigration reform, including “How important is it that the U.S. fix its immigration system this year?” to which 91% of respondents answered “important” (71%) to “somewhat important” (20%). Tennesseans overwhelmingly showed support for an earned pathway to citizenship if undocumented immigrants meet certain requirements, with 77% of respondents showing “strong” (46%) to “somewhat” (31%) support for a legalization process that includes citizenship. The bill is being considered and debated today on the floor of the US Senate.
The following is a statement from Stephen Fotopulos, the Executive Director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition:
“The will of Tennessee voters is clear. We want Congress to do its job, make sense of our immigration laws this year, and finally bring order to the system. Undocumented immigrants are already in our state working hard and raising families, just waiting for the chance to get in line and on the books, and start the long, tough path to citizenship.”

Next, from the American Federation for Immigration Reform:

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AG Sees Bill Banning Non-Citizens from Polls as Suspect

A Senate-passed bill banning those who are not United States citizens from polling places has been deemed “constitutionally suspect” by state Attorney General Bob Cooper.
“When these (relevant legal) standards are applied to HB985, the provisions of this bill appear on their face to be constitutionally suspect as violative of the Equal Protection Clause” of the U.S. Constitution, says the attorney general opinion.
The 14th Amendment to the Constitution, the opinion notes, provides that no state shall “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Legal noncitizen residents are covered by the phrase and are otherwise allowed by state law to be present at polling places for purposes other than voting.
To withstand a court challenge, such a blanket ban would have to establish that the law serves “a compelling state interest by the least restrictive means practically available.” The opinion expresses doubt about the proposed law meeting that standard.
The full opinion is HERE.

AG Deems Ban on Non-Citizens at Polls ‘Constitutionally Suspect’

The state’s attorney general says a Senate-approved bill that would prohibit non-U.S. citizens, regardless of their immigration status, from working at or even entering polling places is “constitutionally suspect,” reports The Tennessean.
In an opinion released Wednesday, Tennessee Attorney General Robert Cooper says House Bill 985, sponsored by Rep. Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma, and Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, would probably violate the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment despite the arguments of some backers.
“It is not apparent that protection of the integrity of the polling place is a rationale for this citizenship requirement, particularly when state law does not otherwise require a person to be a registered voter to perform any of these functions in the polling place,” the opinion reads.
The bill would require that poll watchers be U.S. citizens and bar non-citizens from admission to voting sites.
An amended version — which gives a special exemption authorizing non-U.S. citizens who are assisting physically disabled voters to enter polls — cleared the upper chamber earlier this month. On the heels of the new attorney general’s opinion, however, the House on Thursday opted to delay voting on the bill for one week
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Note: The full opinion is HERE.

Bill Banning Phones, Pictures at Polls Draws Criticism

A proposed ban on using cellphones and cameras at polling places, approved quickly and unanimously in the Senate, has stalled in the House amid suggestions it could block efforts to record wrongdoing.
Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, R-Lancaster, said she proposed HB921 at the urging of a county election administrator who believes cellphones and picture-taking devices are an inappropriate “distraction.” And state Election Coordinator Mark Goins said he has asked for a criminal investigation into reports of a person who sold his vote, then took a photo of the voting screen to prove how he voted and collect payment.
But members of the House Local Government Committee questioned Goins and Weaver at length on what they see as problems with the legislation.
Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, said he has taken each of his five children with him into a voting booth and snapped a picture. That was “a neat thing for us,” he said, adding that “we’re getting into some muddy water here” with the bill.
Rep. Antonio Parkinson, D-Memphis, noted Shelby County voters last year were assigned to vote in the wrong legislative district. With a cellphone picture, he said, they could show the screen as assigned and establish that the ballot was incorrect.

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