A Tennessee House subcommittee today advanced a gutted version of a bill sponsored by Representative Tim Rudd that now would permit, but not require, registration with a political party and closes primaries for only those voters. Those who are not registered with a particular party may still choose a primary in which to vote.
The state Republican Executive Committee had backed the push to allow only registered party members to participate in election primaries. Governor Bill Lee opposes closed primaries.
And last week, a House committee overwhelmingly rejected a closed-primary bill.
Presently, Tennessee voters don’t need to register with political parties. They select the primary ballot on which they prefer to vote. Tennessee law requires only that primary voters be “bona fide” party members – or be willing to “declare allegiance” to a party.