Tennessee senator proposes polling locations at Davidson County jails so eligible inmates can vote

Posted at 5:53 PM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 21:32:57-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — State Senator Brenda Gilmore is proposing a pilot program that would provide eligible inmates access to voting in Davidson county and Shelby county jails.

SB197 was filed in the general assembly on Friday.

Senator Gilmore says there are thousands of inmates awaiting trial and don't have the money to post bond, or because of covid their trial has been postponed.

Although incarcerated, those inmates still have the right to vote since they haven't yet been convicted of a crime.

"The majority of people in jail are working-class people, poor people who can't receive adequate legal representation or are just poor and don't have the money to bond out and they shouldn't be penalized," Senator Gilmore said. "We should give them the right to participate in our democratic process which is the greatest right in the world, voting."

This pilot program would establish one or more satellite voting locations at detention centers where eligible voters are detained. They would also do voter registration at these locations.

Senator Gilmore says this would only apply for those charged with minor, misdemeanor crimes.

"It excludes people from sexual crimes, and any kind of people with severe like gun, knives, weapons," Gilmore said.