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Tennessee election security bill requires watermark on absentee ballots

Any ballot that does not contain watermark is to be rejected.

Updated: May 1, 2021 - 9:36pm

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A bill passed nearly unanimously in the Tennessee legislature this week requires absentee ballots in the state to include a watermark as a measure of election security.

SB1315, titled the Tennessee Election Integrity Act, mandates that absentee ballots there "include a watermark approved by the coordinator of elections."

The measure notes that "under present law, signature verification is the final verification necessary before a counting board counts absentee ballots," while under the new amendment, "signature verification will remain part of the verification process but will not be the final verification." 

"This amendment requires a counting board official to verify that the absentee ballots contain the watermark and reject any ballot that does not bear the watermark," the law stipulates. 

The bill was passed unanimously in the state Senate and with only one opposing vote in the state House. It will now head to Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee's desk for his signature.