NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — On Tuesday, a Senate Committee will take up a bill to create a polling place pilot program in Davidson County jails, giving eligible inmates easier access to vote.
Under Tennessee law, being convicted of a felony crime causes a person to forfeit their eligibility to vote, so not all inmates would be able to cast their ballot if this becomes law.
If this bill makes it through the legislature, the pilot program would be a collaboration between Metro Council, the Secretary of State, and the Davidson County sheriff.
Here's what the bill would do:
- Create a polling place pilot program in Davidson County jails to provide eligible inmates the opportunity to vote.
- Allow only residents of Davidson County who are in custody at a county jail to be eligible to vote at a satellite voting location.
- The jail would be required to provide a voter registration application to a person in custody who requests an application and who is determined to be eligible to vote.
- The jail would be required to make available current resource materials, maintained by the county election commission and secretary of state, containing detailed information regarding the voting rights of a person with a criminal conviction in print.
- This would require money from the county to pay poll workers and for equipment. Costs estimates according to the bill's fiscal note is about $110,000 over the two years.
- The program would run until December 31, 2023.