Bradley County voter registration goes online

By ALLEN MINCEY Staff Writer
Posted 9/25/17

Those wishing to vote in the Cleveland and Bradley County elections in 2018 must be registered. Now, this registration is available online.

Bradley County Administrator of Elections Fran Green …

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Bradley County voter registration goes online

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Those wishing to vote in the Cleveland and Bradley County elections in 2018 must be registered. Now, this registration is available online.

Bradley County Administrator of Elections Fran Green said the Tennessee General Assembly passed a measure offering the ability to register online, and “there were just some things they had to work toward to make sure it is working properly and securely.”

The legislation allowed for online registration to begin July 1, and the Bradley County Election Commission has tested the system over the past few weeks. A few have actually registered online, but since “we have not publicized it,” it was only a few.

“It is actually quite simple,” she said, adding it will help residents in Cleveland and Bradley County register. That is the intent of the system — it does not allow a person to vote online, just register to vote.

“It’s very quick and easy. I think it is three to four pages,” Green said.

Potential voters will still be able to register in the traditional methods: print the form out, either by picking one up at many local sites or online, fill it out and mail it to the Election Commission office; or come in to the Election Commission office and register.

“I think once you have an election cycle, it will become more fruitful,” she said, noting the next big election cycle will be in 2018.

Stipulations to register online are similar to any type of registering.

“You have to be a citizen of the United States, a resident of the state of Tennessee, at least 18 years old by the next election date, and not convicted of a felony,” Green explained. “It is just like you are registering at home.”

Green said there will be a link on the election commission website to register online, but it is not yet available as it is still being developed.

“It is on the secretary of state’s website,” the election registrar noted.

Secretary of State Tre Hargett announced the launch of the new system recently.

“This system meets people where they already are: online. It will improve accuracy and efficiency for voters and election officials by ensuring there are fewer errors and more accurate voter rolls. I would like to thank Sen. Yager and Rep. McCormick for their leadership in making this system a reality for Tennesseans,” Hargett said.

“Registering to vote in Tennessee is now more accessible than ever,” Sen. Ken Yager (R-Kingston) said. “Regardless of health or circumstance, Tennesseans can now register to vote from their own home. As Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘Elections belong to the people.’ I encourage all Tennesseans to take advantage of online registration and guarantee that Lincoln’s statement rings true now and for years to come.”

The new system will allow U.S. citizens with a driver’s license or photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security to register to vote online. Each online submission is checked against the department's database while securely obtaining an electronic signature already on file with the state.

“In Tennessee, many of our hardworking men and women exercise their right to vote during each election cycle, and they take this responsibility very seriously,” said Rep. Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga). “I urge our citizens who have not registered to vote to do so online. The process is quick and easy and can be completed from the comfort of home. Registering to vote is an important step for citizens across our state to have their voices heard during the upcoming election in 2018.”

The system will also help streamline the process of changing a voter’s address. It allows someone to update their information instantly while reducing time-consuming data entry by state or county employees who traditionally had to manually type in what voters write on paper forms.

“Online voter registration is a great tool to register new voters,” Green said. “This will help young people register for the first time as well as the elderly, disabled or our service members who need an easier way to register.”

Tennesseans must still register online or use a paper form at least 30 days before an election to participate.

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