Tennessee ranks dead last when it comes to voter turnout according to the most recent PEW report. With a voter turn out of only 29 percent, it’s evident we have some work to do. In addition, that same report has Tennessee ranked 40th in voter registration with only 74 percent of voting age population registered. There are many factors that play a part in these low numbers. Among non-voters, 14.19 percent cited Disability- or Illness-related Voting Problems as the reason they did not vote. Another potential factor is mailed or “absentee” ballots. In Tennessee, registered voters must provide a specific reason (illness, disability, travel, etc.) when requesting a mail ballot. It could be argued that allowing a “No excuse” policy, meaning any registered voter may request a mail ballot without providing a reason, in Tennessee could allow better access for voters.
More troubling is the fact that a 2016 survey of voters conducted by the Pew Research Center showed that only 40 percent of voters saw the treatment of gay, lesbian and transgender people as very important to their vote. Broken down even further it found 54 percent of Clinton supports and only 25 percent of Trump supporters note the treatment of gay, lesbian and transgender people as very important to their vote.
Looking at these numbers, Tennesseans are allowing 29 percent of the population make decisions that have major impacts on their lives and well being. Additionally, far less than half of that 29 percent consider the treatment of the LGBT+ as very important when deciding their vote.
So we want to know, why don’t you vote? We are hoping to move this conversation forward and make sure ALL people have the ability to voice their opinion and remove obstacles that may prevent it from happening. You are invited to take our anonymous survey below. The results will be posted in the coming months.
Don’t forget to check out our 2018 Candidate Survey Results before heading to the polls!