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Voting Rights

"The right to vote freely for the candidate of one's choice is of the essence of a democratic society, and any restrictions on that right strike at the heart of representative government.”-- Chief Justice Earl Warren, Reynolds vs. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (1964)

Voting is a fundamental right that is the cornerstone of our democracy. ACLU-TN is committed to ensuring that every citizen has the right to vote.

ACLU-TN’s work on voting rights focuses on felony re-enfranchisement. The ACLU-TN Right to Vote (RTV) Campaign seeks to link former felons to their right to vote as a part of its larger commitment to create a functioning, productive, and secure community of people whose civil liberties and civil rights are protected.

Highlights of our work include:

Increasing public awareness about why it is important to restore the right to vote to former felons;

• Passing legislation that streamlines the process for former felons to have their right to vote restored;

Alerting former felons, inmates preparing to complete their sentence, and agencies serving formerly incarcerated individuals, about how former felons can restore have their right to vote restored; and

• Engaging in litigation to remove administrative and legislative barriers preventing former felons from restoring their right to vote.


Press Releases

Legislative Alerts

Past Events




October 20, 2012: Operation Wake-Up and Vote Early (W.A.V.E.) Student Rally


Press Releases

October 25, 2012: ACLU-TN Disappointed with State Appeals Court Ruling Upholding Photo ID Law

October 16, 2012: Local, State and National Organizations Join Forces to Protect Access to the Ballot Box

March 5, 2012: ACLU-TN Opens Toll-Free Voter Hotline and Online Voting Resource Center for March 6 Primary Voters Experiencing Problems at the Polls Urged to Call

November 10, 2010: ACLU Challenges Tennessee Voter Re-Enfranchisement Law - Law Amounts To Illegal Poll Tax

November 1, 2010: Toll-Free Election Day Hotline Opens For Voters Experiencing Problems at the Polls

October 12, 2010: ACLU-TN Provides Voters' Rights Cards and Election Day Hotline to Assist Voters

October 5, 2010: Ballot Secrecy Protected - ACLU of Tennessee Successfully Protects Voters from Being Forced to Reveal Votes

October 22, 2008 - ACLU-TN Distributing Voters' Rights Cards, Providing Assistance for Voters on Election Day

September 29, 2008 - ACLU-TN Survey Reveals Election Officials Lack Knowledge of Voting Rules

September 24, 2008 - Retired RVers’ Right to Vote Restored in Time for November Election

September 23, 2008 - ACLU Disappointed in Court Decision Upholding TN's Disenfranchisement Law: Group Says Payment Provision Is A Modern Day 'Poll Tax'

February 6, 2007: ACLU-TN to Expand Efforts to Restore Voting Rights to Former Felons

August 16, 2006: ACLU-TN Announces "Get Your Right to Vote Back" Town Hall Meeting in Chattanooga on Monday, August 21 (24 KB)

August 10, 2006: ACLU-TN Announces "Get Your Right to Vote Back" Town Hall Meeting in Memphis on Tuesday, August 15 (25 KB)

August 4, 2006: ACLU-TN Kicks Off "Get Your Right to Vote Back" Town Hall Meetings Across State (23 KB)

May 17, 2006: Tennessee Legislature Simplifies Voting Restoration for Ex-Felons


Legislative Alerts

ACLU-TN Legislative Highlights: Voting Rights, 106th Tennessee General Assembly, 2009-2010

March 29, 2010: Contact legislators today--our freedoms at stake this week!

March 22, 2010: Your Voice Needed Now on Immigrants’ Rights, Privacy, Reproductive Freedom, Women’s Rights, Voting Rights & Access to Justice

March 15, 2010: Immigrants Rights, LGBT Rights, Privacy, Reproductive Freedom and More - Your Voice Needed!

March 8, 2010: Stand Up for Reproductive Freedom, Voting Rights & Students’ & Immigrants’ Rights This Week

March 2, 2010: Protect Reproductive Freedom & Voting Rights This Week

May 4, 2009: Legislative Alert: Privacy, LGBT Rights, Religious Freedom, Reproductive Freedom, Voting Rights and Equal Treatment Under the Law at Stake

April 27, 2009: Legislative Alert: Free Speech, LGBT Rights, Reproductive Freedom, Immigrants' Rights and More

April 13, 2009: Legislative Alert: Contact Your Legislators on Free Speech, LGBT Rights, Religious Freedom, Immigrants' Rights and More

April 6, 2009: Legislative Alert: Busy Week at the Legislature - Please Contact Legislators ASAP

March 30, 2009: Legislative Alert: Contact Your Legislators for Reproductive Freedom, Voting Rights, Access to Justice and Students' and Women's Rights

May 9, 2008: ACLU-TN Chart of 2008 TGA Bills Related to Voting Rights

April 25, 2006: Restoration of voting rights - tell your representative to vote FOR HB1722

March 18, 2005: Restoring Ex-Felons' Voting Rights - Urge Your Legislators to Vote Yes by Tuesday



Past Events

May 31, 2012: Voter Suppression Town Hall Meeting

Knoxville -- April 8, 2008: Re-entry and Restoration of Voting Rights: Dismantling Felon Disenfranchisement Laws in Tennessee

Nashville-- Thursday, May 3, 2007, United Steelworkers Union Hall, 3340 Perimeter Hill Dr., Nashville, TN  37211
Breaking the Chains: From Jail Cell to Voting Booth
ACLU-TN Right to Vote Conference

Jackson - Thursday, September 7, 2006, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm,
Madison County Agricultural Complex

Jackson "Get Your Right to Vote Back" flyer (24 KB)

Murfreesboro - Wednesday, September 6, 2006, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm,
Patterson Park Community Center

Murfreesboro "Get Your Right to Vote Back" flyer (25 KB)

Clarksville - Tuesday, September 5, 2006, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm,
Clarksville-Montgomery County Board of Education

Clarksville "Get Your Right to Vote Back" flyer (22 KB)

Nashville - Thursday, August 31, 2006, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm,
Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church

Nashville "Get Your Right to Vote Back" flyer (22 KB)

Chattanooga - Monday, August 21, 2006, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm,
Chattanooga Hamilton County Library

Chattanooga "Get Your Right to Vote Back" flyer (22 KB)

Memphis - Tuesday, August 15, 2006, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm,
University of Memphis School of Law

Memphis and Jackson "Get Your Right to Vote Back" flyer (24 KB)

Knoxville - Monday, August 7, 2006, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm,
Beck Cultural Exchange Center
Johnson City - Tuesday, August 8, 2006, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm,
Johnson City Public Library

Knoxville and Johnson City "Get Your Right to Vote Back" flyer (24 KB)



Voting Rights Resource Center

Get Adobe Reader

pdf 2016 Voter Empowerment Card

pdf TN's Photo ID Law

pdf Getting Ready to Vote: What You Need to Know Before Election Day

pdfProvisional Ballots in 2016

pdf Get Your Right to Vote Back: A How-To Brochure for Former Felons in Tennessee

Why ACLU-TN Launched the Right to Vote Campaign (115 KB)

Addressing Barriers to the Ballot Box: Registering to Vote in Tennessee with a Past Felony Conviction (2,729 KB)



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