Although November’s widely disputed election is in the past, many Americans remain focused on concerns about state election rules they believe are paving the way for future voter fraud.
For their part, Republicans in Tennessee recently launched an effort to remove a judge who expanded access to absentee ballots, the Washington Examiner reported.
“Legislating from the bench”
A resolution presented to force the ouster of Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle failed when it reached a state House subcommittee on Tuesday.
Nevertheless, nearly all Tennesee Republicans backed the effort against Lyle, who ruled last year that voters across the state should be granted no-excuse access to mail-in ballots due to the ongoing public health crisis. The state Supreme Court subsequently overturned her decision, albeit with some caveats allowing high-risk voters to cast an absentee vote.
If successful, the resolution would have established a House-Senate panel to consider whether to remove Lyle from the bench. From there, a two-thirds vote in both chambers would have forced her to step down.
Along with Democrats across the state, legal advocacy groups rushed to Lyle’s defense, decrying the GOP effort as an unprincipled attack on her judicial independence and an attempt to silence voters.
Republicans, on the other hand, argued that Lyle had proven herself to be a partisan judge by “legislating from the bench.”
“Beneath contempt and very shameful”
Officials in the party also complained that the judge’s approach to the mail-in ballot debate was inappropriate.
State Department spokesperson Julia Bruck asserted: “We found her court orders to be confusing, conflicting, and a usurpation of authority.”
“The actions today by a small handful of members of the House Civil Justice Sub-committee was beneath contempt and very shameful,” he wrote. “Tennesseans have been relying on Republicans to protect the integrity of our democratic form of government.”
The development comes amid a nationwide debate over the topic of election integrity. Republicans have continuously argued that state laws and procedures were tweaked in various states without the necessary legislative approval while Democrats accuse the GOP of attempted voter suppression.