Exclusive — State Rep. Bruce Griffey: Tennessee Will Continue Tightening up Election Security

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

State Rep. Bruce Griffey (R-TN) told Breitbart News on Thursday that Tennessee state legislators are continually considering more options to “tighten up security” for elections, including the integration of watermarks on absentee ballots and banning of private funding for election operations.

Griffey explained, “We did two things [in Tennessee], Representative Michele Carringer had a bill — we both had this idea, but my bill was broader so we amended mine to do something different — [that] bans state officials and county election officials from accepting any outside private money to help conduct elections, sort of the anti-Zuckerberg election manipulation funding effort, unless it’s approved by the speaker of the House, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the Senate.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg deployed $419 million in 2020 towards a “safe elections” project, ostensibly an operation to assist state governments’ public health measures related to the coronavirus. This operation included the funding of “drop boxes” for collecting ballots, presumably to reduce coronavirus transmission.


Inclusion of water marks on absentee ballots will help prevent fraudulent ballots from being cast, Griffey stated.

“The other bill I did … added a watermark to our absentee paper ballot system, and that will remain confidential until they actually go out,” Griffey remarked. “This will be one attempt to prevent what I believe — and a number of election analysis people have said — is a way that the Democrats actually — if it’s established — manipulated the votes and the vote counts by just printing out a bunch of ballots and sending them in to through those ballot drop boxes and everything like that.”

Griffey considered the application of security measures used for currency towards ballots.

“We’ve got security strips in Hundred-dollar and twenty-dollar bills,” he noted, “Maybe we ought to do it for our elections. I have to give credit to Speaker Cameron Saxton who actually came up with the idea.”

Marlow asked about the cost of integrating water marks on absentee ballots.

Griffey estimated the cost of materials at about $10,000. He said, “Once  you to split that cost up over all the election commissions — I think it’s $105 per election commission for all 95 counties.”

Marlow replied, “Democrats are really fiscally responsible all of a sudden when it comes to putting water marks on ballots.”

He added,  “Hopefully this will at least give us an extra measure of integrity for our absentee paper ballots in Tennessee.” 

Griffey said Tennessee state Republicans received some support from their Democrat counterparts. 

“Representative Antonio Parkinson stood up on the House floor and said, ‘Look, Democrats are for election integrity, as well. We want free and fair elections, as well,’ and I applaud him for for doing that, because [Democrats] do take some unfair hits at times, and it’s easy to paint a group or one association of folks with a broad brush and say, ‘Oh, they’re all like that.’ Well, not everybody’s like that. Most of the time it’s a few bad actors in one particular camp or the other, and then everybody else gets blamed for the the bad actions of the the bad actors.”

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