By Sen. Ken Yager

Legislation I am sponsoring providing for the establishment of an online voter registration system for Tennesseans is headed to the Senate floor on Monday.  Under the legislation, voters with an unexpired driver’s license or personal identification card issued by the Department of Safety will be able to go to an official state website where they will be able to register to vote online.  This will streamline the registration process and minimize the use of county official’s time by eliminating the need for the officials to reenter information.

The voter registration application would be reviewed electronically.  If the request is confirmed to be valid, the new registration would be added to the state’s voter registration list after being reviewed by the respective county election commission office.  The validation step is done by comparing the information on the online registration form against the information provided by the same individual when he or she received a driver’s license or state-issued identification card.

The signature already on record with the state would become the signature on record for voting. If the information does not match, applicants would be directed to print and complete the application and mail it to the county election commission office in their county of residence to be processed.

Twenty-nine states plus the District of Columbia offer online registration, and another two states have passed legislation to create online voter registration systems but have not yet implemented them.  The new statute also allows deployed and active duty soldiers greater access to registration process.  The online registration process will be established by July of 2017.

I am very pleased that this legislation is advancing and believe that it will help improve voter participation in Tennessee.