Making Democracy Work

Encouraging Informed and Active Participation of Citizens in Government

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. It influences public policy through education and advocacy.

The following materials have been developed by the LWVTN Action Committee. They have been designed to aid League members and Tennessee voters in preparation for the November 4, 2014 state and federal general election. The ballot will include four Tennessee Constitutional Amendments. Please use this package of documents to become a more informed voter and share them widely with your family, friends, neighbors, and communities.

1. Vote NO on Amendment #1 to the Tennessee Constitution "Shall Article 1, of the Tennessee Constitution be amended by adding the following language as a new appropriately designated section: Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother."

2. Vote YES on Amendment #2 to the Tennessee Constitution "Shall Article VI, Section 3 of the Constitution of Tennessee be amended by deleting the first and second sentences and by substituting instead the following:

"Judges of the Supreme Court or any intermediate appellate court shall be appointed for a full term or to fill a vacancy by and at the discretion of the governor; shall be confirmed by the Legislature; and thereafter, shall be elected in a retention election by the qualified voters of the state. Confirmation by default occurs if the Legislature fails to reject an appointee within sixty calendar days of either the date of appointment, if made during the annual legislative session, or the convening date of the next annual legislative session, if made out of session. The Legislature is authorized to prescribe such provisions as may be necessary to carry out Sections two and three of this article."

3. Vote NO on Amendment #3 to the Tennessee Constitution "Shall Article II, Section 28 of the Constitution of Tennessee be amended by adding the following sentence at the end of the final substantive paragraph within the section:

"Notwithstanding the authority to tax privileges or any other authority set forth in this Constitution, the Legislature shall not levy, authorize or otherwise permit any state or local tax upon payroll or earned personal income or any state or local tax measured by payroll or earned personal income; however, nothing contained herein shall be construed as prohibiting any tax in effect on January 1, 2011, or adjustment of the rate of such tax."

4. Amendment #4 to the Tennessee Constitution: The League of Women Voters of Tennessee does not have a position on this amendment. "Shall Article XI, Section 5 of the Constitution of Tennessee be amended by deleting the following language:

"All other forms of lottery not authorized herein are expressly prohibited unless authorized by a two-thirds vote of all members elected to each house of the general assembly for an annual event operated for the benefit of a 501(c)(3) organization located in this state, as defined by the 2000 United States Tax Code or as may be amended from time to time.

"and by substituting instead the following language:

"All other forms of lottery not authorized herein are expressly prohibited unless authorized by a two-thirds vote of all members elected to each house of the general assembly for an annual event operated for the benefit of a 501(c)(3) or a 501(c)(19) organization, as defined by the 2000 United States Tax Code, located in this state."

The National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ), is partnering with LWVTN and a few other state Leagues in key states, as well as other organizations throughout the country, in connection with its new voter education initiative on the courts and election of judges. The project is called NAWJ Informed Voters--Fair Judges Project. This film, Fair and Free features former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and streamed online January 15, 2014.

From Nashville's President...

It is already time to turn our attention to the November elections. The ballot will include some critical decisions for voters that have a significant impact on the future of Tennessee. Using LWVUS and LWVTN policy statements for guidance, LWVTN through its Action Committee has taken positions on three of four proposed constitutional amendments that will appear on the November 4, 2014 Tennessee election ballot.

▪ LWVTN and LWVN oppose Amendment 1, which would give the Tennessee Legislature complete control over state laws governing abortion. ▪ LWVTN and LWVN support Amendment 2, which would provide constitutional clarity on our selection process for appellate judges. ▪ LWVTN and LWVN oppose Amendment 3, which would create a permanent ban on income and payroll taxes by state and local governments.

We have joined in coalition with other likeminded groups to communicate our positions to citizens throughout the state on these three issues. Further information about the amendments and the League's position statements can be found at http://www.lwvtn.org/ and will soon be available on the LWVN website as well at http://www.lwvnashville.org.

These constitutional amendments have also been a focal point for our First Friday programs. In September, Hedy Weinberg, executive director for ACLU of Tennessee provided a compelling case about the reasons to oppose the intrusion of government into families' private decisions by voting no on Amendment 1. On Friday, October 3, our First Friday program at Second Harvest Food Bank will include speakers explaining why it is important to vote yes for Amendment 2 and to vote no on Amendment 3.

Equally important, we need to educate voters about the idiosyncrasies of this upcoming election. It is necessary for voters to cast a vote for BOTH a certified candidate of their choice for governor AND each of the amendments. The Tennessee constitution requires that at least 50 percent plus one vote of the TOTAL votes cast in the governor's race are needed to approve or reject a constitutional amendment.

We will be communicating with voters through a variety of methods during this election cycle including Facebook, YouTube, public radio, and our traditional voter registration booths. Please let Jo Singer know at lwvnash@gmail.com if you can help with voter registration activities.

We also strongly encourage you to volunteer at the phone bank for http://www.voteno1tn.org.

Melissa Holden, Judy Saks, and I had the wonderful opportunity to help eligible immigrants with the arduous task of applying for U.S. citizenship at Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition's (TIRRC) "Become a Citizen Now Workshop." It is a long and complicated process that involves a large amount of detailed paperwork and the applicants were grateful to have the help of caring volunteers. Information about future workshops will be posted on the LWVN calendar.

We are already anticipating a marvelous post-election celebration when we commemorate the historymaking role of Tennessee women in the suffrage movement. One hundred years ago in November 1914, Nashville's extraordinary Anne Dallas Dudley brought the National Women's Suffrage Convention to Nashville. And what could be a better place to celebrate than the hub of the suffrage battle--the Hermitage Hotel! Mark your calendar now for a Cocktail Celebration of this important milestone on Tuesday, November 18. You will be hearing more about this event soon. This is a celebration you won't want to miss!

Our congratulations go to State Representative Brenda Gilmore, our LWVN Nominating Committee chair. She will serve as president-elect of the Women's Legislative Network, which addresses issues unique to women. Representative Gilmore was also elected board member of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators. Gilmore consistently has been rated highly by Tennessee Conservation Voters (TCV) for her advocacy to protect our state's environment and natural resources.

Debby Gould, President League of Women Voters of Nashville

GET INVOLVED WITH THE LEAGUE

WE NEED YOU TO GET INVOLVED WITH THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF NASHVILLE

Consistent Voter Services

League members can impact the election process by volunteering to help educate the citizens of the community and provide opportunities for voter registration. Voter education and voter registration opportunities are continuous but peak during election years. Get involved by:

  • Planning and participating in candidate forums
  • Conducting voter registration drives at events such as the All About Women Conference and the Mayor's First Day of School Festival and assist other groups with drives
  • Speaking to groups on the voting process: community associations, schools, and GED classes
  • Working with others, such as the Tennessee Disability Coalition, to ensure access to the polls
  • Serving as poll observers on election days
  • Observing meetings of the Davidson County Election Commission
  • Monitoring and studying the election process
  • Supporting adequate resources for the election process

Strategic and Effective Issue Advocacy

League members can impact public policy by educating the public about issues important to good government and community well-being, and advocating for League positions on key issues. Because we live in the state capital, Nashville League members work on both local and state issues. We also answer calls to action from the LWVUS when issues are pending in Congress. Whatever your interests, you can get involved!

Specifically, the League advocates for access to health care; education to prepare students for responsible citizenry and the economy of the future; good stewardship of our natural resources; election processes that are fair and secure; and ethics and transparency in government. League members interested in issue advocacy can participate by:

  • Educating our members and the community by writing articles in the Voter, submitting op-ed columns, or planning and conducting public forums
  • Advocating for League positions on critical issues by writing or talking to elected officials

The League is a grass roots organization, guided by positions adopted by its members at all three League levels--local, state, and national. To learn more about the issues identified and supported by members, go to our ISSUES Page.

Please tell us how you would like to become involved by calling (615) 297-7134 or sending an email to info@LWVNashville.org or president@LWVNashville.org

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Join the League!

To join the League, click here: Membership to jump to our membership page where you will find our on-line or mail-in membership options. As a member you can serve on one of our committees, volunteer to work a voter registration booth, organize a candidate debate, write letters to your elected officials, work at the polls, etc. We encourage you to let us know your interests and area(s) of expertise. There is plenty to be done and we welcome your participation!

Make a Donation!

If you prefer to donate to us without joining our organization, we would appreciate your support. Your donations help the League provide voter services, sponsor forums, participate in community events and be a strong advocate for good government policy.