Of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Tennessee ranked fiftieth in overall voter turnout in the 2014 election. Tennesseans face significant barriers to exercising the right to vote that contribute to this low voter participation.
Tennessee’s 2011 law requiring presentation of a photo ID to vote particularly burdens senior citizens, racial and ethnic minorities, students, people with disabilities and low-income voters, who are both less likely to have the documentation required to vote, or the means to get it.
Another 2011 state law reduced early voting periods, limiting access to the ballot box.
The state has also purged hundreds of thousands of voters from the voting rolls for inactivity, a practice the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled violates the National Voter Registration Act.
Individuals can permanently lose the right to vote following a felony conviction, barring an entire group of people from voting. Many people with felony convictions who are eligible to restore their voting rights remain disenfranchised after they have completed their sentences simply because they lack the funds necessary to do so.
In addition, it’s time to modernize Tennessee’s voter registration practices to make it easier for people to register to vote.
Get ACLU-TN’s “Voting Rights Toolkit.” This toolkit offers you an overview of the voting rights landscape in Tennessee and actions you can take to expand voting rights in Tennessee. Particular focus is given to restoring the right to vote for people with felony convictions and modernizing Tennessee’s voter registration system to improve voter participation.
You can also use this “Felony Disenfranchisement Fact Sheet” to help educate community members and decisionmakers.
Fill out the “Have You Lost Your Right to Vote Due To A Felony Conviction? Form” to find out whether or not you are eligible to restore your right to vote.
Keep us posted. Complete the “Voting Rights Toolkit Feedback Form” to let us know how your activism is going.
|Support||SB 0036/HB 0137||Criminal Procedure – As introduced, enables a person who has been disqualified from exercising the right to vote due to a felony conviction to apply for restoration of voting rights if making payments in accordance with a payment plan for court costs, restitution, or overdue child support. – Amends TCA Title 40, Chapter 29, Part 2.||Current Status|
|Support||SB 0090/HB 0133||Election Laws – As introduced, authorizes the use of a driver license from another state to establish a person’s identity for the purposes of being issued a photo identification license by the department of safety for the purposes of voting. – Amends TCA Title 2 and Title 55, Chapter 50.||Current Status|
|Support||SB 0240/HB 0312||Election Laws – As introduced, authorizes a qualified person to register and vote on election day; authorizes a person to update the person’s voter information and vote on election day; requires the state election commission to promulgate rules for such purposes. – Amends TCA Title 2.||Current Status|
|Support||SB 0589/HB 0547||Criminal Procedure – As introduced, restores the voting rights of persons convicted of certain infamous crimes upon receipt of a pardon or completion of any sentence of incarceration, parole, or probation. – Amends TCA Section 2-2-102 and Title 40, Chapter 29.||Current Status|
|Support||SB 0761/HB 0046||Election Laws – As introduced, requires a county election commission to maintain certain office hours on Sundays for purposes of early voting. – Amends TCA Title 2.||Current Status|
|Support||SB 0762/HB 0214||Election Laws – As introduced, permits any registered Tennessee voter to vote absentee for any reason after providing a certification as to the identity of the voter in the application for a ballot; requires an absentee ballot to be counted for the election in which the ballot is cast; deletes the requirement that a voter who registers by mail must vote the first time in person. – Amends TCA Title 2.||Current Status|
|Support||SB 0822/HB 0553||Election Laws – As introduced, revises provisions governing voter registration applications through the department of safety. – Amends TCA Title 2, Chapter 2.||Current Status|
|Support||SB 0837/HB 1002||Election Laws – As introduced, requires every applicant for a driver license or photo identification card to be automatically registered to vote upon the applicant’s 18th birthday; makes other related revisions. – Amends TCA Title 55.||Current Status|
|Support||SB 0875/HB 1258||Criminal Procedure – As introduced, makes various changes to the process for restoration of voting rights, including consolidating the process for the issuance of a certificate of voting rights restoration through the secretary of state’s office. – Amends TCA Title 40, Chapter 29.||Current Status|
|Support||SB 1092/HB 1260||Election Laws – As introduced, revises provisional voting process; authorizes person who registers to vote by mail to cast the person’s first vote by absentee ballot. – Amends TCA Title 2.||Current Status|
|Support||SB 1093/HB 0965||Election Laws – As introduced, authorizes person who registers to vote by mail to cast the person’s first vote by absentee ballot. – Amends TCA Title 2, Chapter 2.||Current Status|
|Support||SJR 0169||Constitutional Amendments – Proposes amendment of Article II, Section 4 to establish an independent redistricting commission for senatorial and representative districts.||Current Status|
For additional information on bills and actions you can take, please visit our Legislative Action Center.