Pointing to Tennessee’s cellar-dwelling rankings among states when it came to 2014 mid-term elections voter participation, state House Democrats on Friday vowed to renew their push in 2018 to repeal or change GOP-passed laws they charge are aimed at depressing voter turnout. Tennessee is absolutely at the bottom,” Rep. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville, told reporters. In a news conference, Gilmore, a former chair of the Tennessee Black Caucus, blamed a 2011 law requiring would-be voters to have officially issued state or federal government-issued photo identification like a driver’s license to vote. She said it disproportionately impacts women, elderly, college students, black and Hispanic voters.
Republicans argue the law is necessary to combat voter fraud. Experts say instances of in-person fraud are rare, but proponents of such laws contend that’s because it often goes undetected.
Last year, the nonpartisan Pew Research Center ranked Tennessee No. 50 among the states and Washington, D.C., in terms of the percentage of registered voters casting ballots in 2014 mid-term elections.