by Kelsey Loschke, DRT Coordinator of Voting Program
Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) is dedicated to ensuring that Tennesseans with disabilities have access to the voting process. DRT will be providing up-to-date voter registration information and election dates throughout 2016 to equip voters to GO VOTE TN!
As we prepare for the upcoming 2016 presidential election, we must remember that everyone is impacted by public policy decisions. Elected officials decide how and where to use our tax dollars, so things like public education and transportation are all impacted by who gets elected to office. Unfortunately, people with disabilities are underrepresented in the electoral process by about 5.7 %. As members of the disability community it is crucial that we vote so that we have a voice in what our local, state, and federal governments do. The first step in being able to vote is registering.
How to Register?
You must be registered to vote 30 days prior to the election that you wish to vote in.
Remember, to vote in the State Primary Election on August 4, 2016, you must be registered by July 5, 2016 and to vote in the Presidential election on November 8, 2016 you must be registered by October 11, 2016.
To register to vote in Tennessee, you must:
• Be 18 years of age or older on or before the next election day
• Be a resident of Tennessee
• Not have a felony conviction (Click for more information on how to restore your voting rights after felony conviction)
You can register to vote by mail or in-person. To register by mail, you can download the registration form here and mail or hand deliver it to your county election commission office. You can also register in-person at the following locations:
• County Clerk’s offices
• County Election Commission Office
• Public libraries
• Register of Deeds Offices
If you need assistance registering to vote or experience problems during registration you may contact DRT at 800.342.1660 or at www.disabilityrightstn.org for assistance.
When to vote?
Elections happen at different times during the year, but dates are always posted on the Secretary of State’s website.
Upcoming elections across the state include:
• State Primary & County General Elections: August 4, 2016
• Federal & State General Election: November 8, 2016
* Check your local County Election Commission to identify when your county will hold their election.