Voters, be informed before you head to the polls.
Voters across the state will have several options to change our state constitution this election. Regardless of where you stand, be sure you understand what you will be voting on before you get to the polls. Election officials and poll workers are unable to provide guidance at the polls. Listed below are four ballot measures to amend the Tennessee State Constitution on the November 4 ballot.
Amendment 1 – Ability to Regulate Abortion
Amendment one would give the General Assembly the power to regulate abortion in Tennessee.
Amendment One is the most contentious yet clear-cut measures on the ballot. Voting “Yes on 1” is a vote to allow our state representatives and state senators to draft legislation to regulate abortions in the state.
Supporters of the amendment say our state has become a destination for abortions. Tennessee now ranks 3rd in the percentage of out-of-state abortions. Voting “Yes on 1” would restore the people’s right to reasonable regulations put forth by our state representatives and state senators.
Opponents of the measure, mostly out-of-state abortion rights activists, claim the measure would allow government interference in our personal and private medical decisions.
If you believe Tennessee should have common sense regulations on abortions, vote “Yes” on Amendment One.
Amendment 2 – Judicial Selection
Amendment two would change the process for selecting Tennessee judges. If approved, the governor would make appointments to state courts. Those nominees would be subject to approval by the General Assembly. Voters would decide whether to retain or replace the judges every eight years.
Judicial election expert, Tracey George, a professor at Vanderbilt School of Law, tells Bobby Allyn of Nashville Public Radio voting “Yes” on Amendment Two will result in a more conservative judicial branch in Tennessee.
“If we passed Amendment 2, as compared to the current system, we should expect to see more conservative judges,” George said. And there is quite a consensus for doing just that. Watch the “Vote Yes on 2” TV spot below.
But opponents of the measure say it will place a buffer between voters and their right to vote directly for judges.
“Any time you move things away from the direct touch of the people and you insulate it by going through the nominating committee that goes to the governor and the governor puts them (on), now you are talking three or four levels,” said David Barton, a conservative author and constitutional historian, to TNReport on Capitol Hill in March of 2012.
But the current system doesn’t allow voters to choose appellate judges now.
Amendment 3 – Prohibit State Income Tax
Amendment three would prohibit the General Assembly from creating an income tax in Tennessee.
Tennessee is one of 10 states that does not collect income tax. A “Yes” vote on this amendment would put an added layer of protection in our constitution to keep it that way.
Amendment 4 – Allow Charitable Gambling Events
Amendment four would allow some nonprofit organizations, such as veterans groups, to hold raffles and other “charitable gambling” events.
According to BallotPedia.org, “The measure, upon voter approval, would empower the state legislature to authorize lotteries via a two-thirds vote for annual events that benefit nonprofits.”
Early voting dates: 10/15/2014 through 10/30/2014.
Early voting hours: Monday-Friday: 8:30am-4pm; Saturday: 9am-12pm.
You may early vote at the Election Commission office at 125 Court Street in Dayton. For more information visit RheaVote.com.