March 11, 2019 (NASHVILLE, Tenn.) —Tennessee’s university students, faculty, and staff would have easier access to the polls under legislation introduced by Democratic State Representative London Lamar and State Senator Raumesh Akbari.
SB 825 (HB 554) would require county election commissions to use public institutions of higher education with 8,000 or more enrolled students for polling places during early voting in federal, state, and local elections.
The Tennessee General Assembly Fiscal Review Committee estimated that the bill would put no cost burden on county election commissions or public institutions of higher education.
The measure is a step toward correcting Tennessee’s dismal voter turnout rate. Right now, Tennessee is ranked 49th in voter turnout and 40th in voter registration.
The Senate State and Local Government Committee is scheduled to consider the legislation on Tuesday, March 19.
Lamar and Akbari are both Democrats representing parts of Memphis and Shelby County.