KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee ranks as one of the lowest in the country for getting voters to the polls during election season, according to U.S. Election Assistance Commission. It’s one reason the Knox County League of Women Voters works to get ballots in the hands of those in the area, especially now that early voting has begun.
“Sadly during the primary, fewer than 20 percent of Tennesseans voted, so we’re letting the 20 percent speak for the other 80 percent,” said Kathryn King, communications director for the organization. “If you want to be able to affect local decisions and to make sure your voice is heard, you need to understand who the candidates are and vote for the one who is closest to your view point.”
It’s a message King and other members of the organization hope to get across to the community before November 8.
“We think that every person’s vote is their voice, and we want them to be heard,” she said.
To make sure every voice is heard, the organization holds events and visits neighborhoods to prepare residents for upcoming elections. Sample ballots for each county can be viewed prior to voting. It’s work they believe matters and helps increase the numbers seen at polls.
“We did some outreach in an area last year and it did improve voter turnout in that area,” King said. “It was little door hangers with just the basic information,” she said.
All key details that King said are important not to take for granted.
“It matters, if you want your children educated, if you’re interested in healthcare for yourself and your family, it’s important to get out there and get your voice heard and let your representatives know what you’re about,” King said.
The organization will host a candidate forum for Tennessee State House Districts 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 89, 90 on Thursday at the Musalla at Annoor Academy. Those unable to attend can watch the forum on the organization’s Facebook page.