Our Research Findings - "Still Locked Out in Tennessee"
Why It Matters
Restoration of Voting Rights (RVR) is at the heart of our democracy — the right to vote. More than 420,000 Tennesseans with past felony convictions are barred from voting. They represent one in twelve adults in the state.
Tennessee laws for voter restoration are much more restrictive and complex than in the majority of states. This is reflected in the fact that less than 4% of eligible individuals have had their voting rights restored as of 2016. Many who are disenfranchised do not know they can restore voting and other civil rights—or the options for doing so.
And most Tennesseans are unaware of these problems.
Tennessee Raises New Obstacles to Voter Restoration
Voting Restoration Webinars
September 7, 2023 (Virtual): Voter Restoration in Tennessee: New Road Blocks - New regulations create additional roadblocks to the existing labyrinthian voter restoration process in our state for individuals formerly convicted of a felony. Hear from experts from the League of Women Voters of Tennessee, Campaign Legal Center, UT Legal Clinic, Free Hearts, and a community leader who eventually restored her rights. Learn about the impact of these regulations, the lack of due process, and their recommended strategies for change. Watch HERE.
November 13 (Virtual): Restoring Voting Rights in TN - Paula Brown, Public Policy Committee Chair, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. Greater Knoxville Chapter, Kathy Greenberg, Coordinator, LWV of Tennessee: Restoring Voting Rights, Joy Radice, Associate Professor of Law & Director of Clinical Programs, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville College of Law and Yvonne Webb, Trainer & Provider of Assistance to People wanting to restore their voting rights. Watch HERE
July 8 (Virtual): Restoring Hope: Restoring Rights Understanding Legal Issues in Restoring Voting Rights - Chris Martin, Public Defender, Community Law Office Experience in East, Middle, & West Tennessee and Joy Radice, Associate Professor of Law & Director of Clinical Programs The University of Tennessee, Knoxville College of Law. Watch HERE
May 6 (Virtual): Howard Gentry, Criminal Court Clerk, and Jim Shulman, Vice-mayor, will discuss their work with the criminal court, to help felons regain this right, in Davidson County. Many who are disenfranchised do not know their voting rights can be restored—or the options for doing so, and most Tennesseans are unaware of these problems. Our laws for voter restoration are much more restrictive and complex than in the majority of states and this is reflected in the fact that less than 4% of eligible individuals have had their voting rights restored as of 2016. Since each county seems to have its own methods for implementing this restoration process, Howard and Jim will tell us what’s going on locally and how we might be of help restoring these rights to more. Click HERE to watch.