Early Voting Begins October 17

Early voting begins on Wednesday, October 17 in Tennessee and will continue until Thursday, November 1.  Utilized by many for its convenience, early voting allows voters to select any early voting location operated by their local election commission office (you are not bound to the precinct listed on your voter registration card).

As of January 1, 2012, casting your ballot now requires the use of photo identification.  Please see the information below on which forms of identification are accepted at the polls.

From the Tennessee Department of State:

What IDs are acceptable?

Any of the following IDs may be used, even if expired:

  • Tennessee drivers license with your photo
  • United States Passport
  • Photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security
  • Photo ID issued by the federal or any state government
  • United States Military photo ID
  • State-issued handgun carry permit with your photo
What IDs are not acceptable?

College student IDs and photo IDs not issued by the federal or a state government are NOT acceptable.

Who is exempt?
  • Voters who vote absentee by mail (view requirements here)
  • Voters who are residents of a licensed nursing home or assisted living center and who vote at the facility
  • Voters who are hospitalized
  • Voters with a religious objection to being photographed
  • Voters who are indigent and unable to obtain a photo ID without paying a fee
What if I registered by mail and am voting in my first election?

Federal law requires first time voters who register by mail to present one of the following:

  • A current photo identification with voter’s name and photo OR
  • If the photo identification is expired, the voter must also present one of the following: a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that shows the voter’s name and address.

Do you care about higher education issues facing the state?  Learn what state legislative candidates had to say about the issues before heading to the polls. Be an informed voter and view our candidate survey before you cast your ballot.

Survey Results

UT Advocacy administered a survey this past August to every candidate running for a Tennessee General Assembly seat in this year’s General Election. The survey covers issues pertaining to higher education in Tennessee, regarding the areas of State support for higher education, campus and workplace safety, and Lottery Scholarships. Click here to read the full text of the survey.

Below are the results for legislators and candidates seeking election or reelection in the Tennessee State Senate and House of Representatives.

If you are unsure of which Senate or House District you are registered to vote in, you can look up your voter registration information via the Tennessee Department of State website.

Please note: State Senators in Tennessee serve staggered four-year terms, so only half of the Senate is up for election this year. We provided an opportunity for candidates to issue a statement or comment for each of the six questions, and all responses are quoted verbatim, unedited from the completed surveys received in our office.

Tennessee Senate

View in Google Docs | Download PDF

 

Tennessee House of Representatives

View in Google Docs | Download PDF

What We’re Seeing: A Summary of Survey Responses

UT Advocacy partnered with the UT Alumni Association in August to administer a general election survey on higher education issues to all state legislative candidates.  Although responses are still rolling in, listed below is a broad summary of results thus far.  Interested in what your candidates said about UT & higher education?  Check back on October 1st to view full results and individual candidate responses.

The Summary: House Candidates

  • 92% of respondents favored efforts to maintain, if not increase, state funding for higher education.
  • 40% of respondents opposed efforts to cap, freeze, or place other constraints on tuition.
  • 76% of respondents favored expanding current state appropriations to the University’s non-formula units (UT Health Science Center, UT Institute for Agriculture, and the UT Institute for Public Service).
  • 59% of respondents opposed alterations to current law that would have the effect of increasing the presence of guns on campus and in the workplace.
  • 73% of respondents said they would oppose legislation that further authorized the use of HOPE scholarships at for-profit proprietary schools.

The Summary: Senate Candidates

  • 63% of respondents favored efforts to maintain, if not increase, state funding for higher education.
  • 25% of respondents opposed efforts to cap, freeze, or place other constraints on tuition.
  • 75% of respondents favored expanding current state appropriations to the University’s non-formula units (UT Health Science Center, UT Institute for Agriculture, and the UT Institute for Public Service).
  • 50% of respondents opposed alterations to current law that would have the effect of increasing the presence of guns on campus and in the workplace.
  • 63% of respondents said they would oppose legislation that further authorized the use of HOPE scholarships at for-profit proprietary schools.

48 Days

There are 48 days until early voting begins.  Are you registered to vote?  Do you know where your candidates stand on the issues?  The clock is ticking, but there is still time for you to register to vote and to learn about the candidates.

In Tennessee, you must submit an application for voter registration at least 30 days prior to an election.  If you’re not registered to vote, please take a moment to fill out this mail-in application for voter registration.  Once you submit a valid application, a voter registration card will be mailed to the address you’ve provided.  This card will tell you where to vote.

With ample time before early voting, UT Advocacy will post the results of our general election survey.  This information will help you learn more about the candidates and their views on higher education issues, and will prove valuable as you head to the polls.

Let the voices of the Vols, Skyhawks, and Mocs be heard this year on election day. Mark your calendars now: Early voting runs from October 17th until November 1st.  Election Day is November 6th. 

To learn more about elections in the State of Tennessee, visit the TN Secretary of State’s website.

Sneak Peek: General Election Survey and Why You Should Care

USA Today reported this week that roughly 90 million Americans won’t vote in November. Dubbed “unlikely voters,” there are numerous reasons these Americans often won’t make it to the polls.  41 percent of those surveyed reported that they won’t vote in November simply because their “vote doesn’t make a difference anyway.”  For those working in and around government in Tennessee, that statement is unsettling.

Our state recently experienced a primary election where some winners were determined by just a few votes.  There was one candidate that lost by five votes.  Others lost by eleven, fifteen, forty-one, and 105 votes.  These races were quite literally down to the wire.  Those running would tell you: EVERY VOTE COUNTS.

When the General Election rolls around in November, don’t become part of this statistic.  Head to the polls and be an issues voter.  To help you learn more about candidates running in your area,  UT Advocacy partnered with the UT Alumni Association to administer a survey on higher education issues to all Tennessee legislative candidates.  Although results won’t be available until mid-September, a sneak peek of the questions we are asking is provided below.

Remember: Early voting begins October 17.  Election Day is November 6.  Don’t be an unlikely voter.  Be an issues voter.  Head to the polls and remind those running that you expect them to vote ORANGE.

Here is what UT Advocacy is asking candidates:

State Support for Higher Education
Ten years ago, state appropriations accounted for nearly 60% of the cost to educate Tennesseans in our public postsecondary institutions.  Today, that funding has been reduced to 32%, thus forcing the out-of-pocket costs to students to rise over the same period.  Due to recurring budget cuts to higher education, campuses have been forced to offset a portion of those reductions with increased tuition, grants, and private gifts.  Tuition is the only source of recurring funding the University can control to ensure the provision of high quality education, research, and outreach to the entire state.

1.  Would you oppose or favor efforts to maintain, if not increase, state funding for higher education?

2.  Would you oppose or favor efforts to cap, freeze, or place other constraints upon tuition?

“Non-formula” Units
Essential to the land-grant mission of the University of Tennessee are the “non-formula” units such as the UT Health Science Center, the UT Institute for Agriculture, and the Institute for Public Service.  These entities are directly responsible for carrying out research, community outreach, and public service in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties.  However, the funding model for these units has not kept pace with the ever-expanding demand for the services these units provide.

3.  Would you oppose or favor expanding current state appropriations to the University’s non-formula units to better meet the service and outreach needs of local governments and Tennesseans across the state?

Campus and Workplace Safety
Recent years have seen legislative attempts to increase the presence of weapons on public college campuses. Current state law already allows select individuals to possess and carry guns on campus in conjunction with their official duties.

4.  Would you oppose or favor alterations to current law that would have the effect of increasing the presence of guns on campuses and in the workplace?

Lottery Scholarships
The HOPE Lottery Scholarship Program provides grants and scholarships to qualifying Tennessee residents attending regionally accredited private or public postsecondary institutions in Tennessee.  The program has experienced fiscal shortfalls in recent years due to increases in participation that exceed growth in revenues, causing concern about the program’s long-term solvency. Despite those concerns, some recent legislative attempts have focused on expanding the use of lottery funds to include for-profit schools.

5.  Would you oppose or favor legislation further authorizing the use of HOPE scholarships at for-profit schools?

6.  If participation continues to exceed revenues, which measure would you support in order to ensure fiscal solvency for the Lottery Program? [Answer options: Raising academic eligibility requirements; Lowering the amount awarded per scholarship; Both; Neither; Not sure; Comments:___ ].

Be an informed voter!  
Check back for results before early voting
begins on October 17th.