The letter I received from Tennessee as a naturalized citizen carries an aura of voter intimidation

Regarding the article titled “14,000 Tennesseans sent letters requesting proof of citizenship ahead of election,” which was published on June 25th, I would like to provide my thoughts.

Last week, I received a letter from the Tennessee Election Division that left me feeling quite dissatisfied.

In the letter, it was mentioned that my citizenship status may have been questionable at the time I received my Tennessee driver’s license. Additionally, the letter reminded me that illegal voting is considered a felony and requested that I provide evidence of my citizenship.

Although I had obtained my license two months prior to my naturalization in September 2022, I registered as a voter during the ceremony. At that time, I believed that the voter registration process automatically verified that the registrant was a citizen.

The letter I received exudes an atmosphere of voter intimidation. When I spoke with them over the phone, they informed me that they would not verify my citizenship status with federal authorities as required by state law. Instead, I would be responsible for providing proof of my citizenship, which feels like an unfair burden. It’s as if I’m being treated like a criminal suspect, which is completely absurd.

As someone with a busy schedule, taking the time to physically go to the post office to mail copies of documents was a minor inconvenience. While I am fortunate enough to have flexible hours, it still meant taking time away from my work and other important tasks on my to-do list.

They are making a serious mistake if they believe that someone like me, a scientist with a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee and an affiliation with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, would be the target of voter fraud.

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