A disengaged electorate can never truly embody democracy. Yes, ours is an aging federal republic, embattled with questions of money in speech and protecting our futures, but it’s a part of our heritage to own our constitutionally-granted civic responsibilities. Regardless of the past 40 years of voting hurdles, Tennessee is no exception. Put honestly, we’re phenomenally pathetic at turnout. This isn’t to beat the proverbial dead horse appearing for a ritual flogging every election season, but it bears repeating until we finally get it right.
Solution: GET…OUT…AND…VOTE in Tennessee’s Super Tuesday primary March 1, whether you're a tea partier, a Sanderista, a Clintonite, a live-and-let-live libertarian or even someone who simply hates politics. Early voting is currently taking place every weekday until at least 5:30 p.m. at the Putnam County Election Commission at 705 County Services Drive until Feb. 23. At least be registered for the general election by Oct. 8. This year is a crux for our state and country’s future. If we re-engage the electorate in the primaries, we can do so for the Nov. 8 general election. Then perhaps later, we won't suffer tepid turnouts like the turnout of only 29.1 percent of eligible voters in Tennessee’s 2014 midterm.
Only 36.5 percent of registered American voters casted votes on crucial congressional positions and ballot measures in 2014—the lowest turnout in 70 years. The laws haven’t made it easy, and elections are arguably being bought like cinnamon churros on the street corner, but we’ll get the government we overwhelmingly select to change things. Lastly, I encourage everyone to vote for his or her choice in both elections—not just for whomever seems the most likely or “popular” choice. John Quincy Adams once said: “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”