Tennessee Supreme Court Ruling Adds Urgency To Special Legislative Session

August 7, 2020

New poll shows Tennesseans want action to ensure safe, accessible elections and to help workers 

Yesterday, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that the coronavirus pandemic which has infected nearly 5 million Americans and killed more than 150,00 is not an acceptable reason to vote absentee in the November election in Tennessee. However, new polling commissioned by the State Innovation Exchange (SiX) and conducted by TargetSmart shows Tennessee wants action from state legislators during the special session to ensure that Tennesseans do not have to choose between their health and their vote in November.

Voters Support Steps to Ensure Safe and Accessible Elections

Tennessee voters overwhelmingly believe that the state government has an important role to play in safely and fairly administering elections (96%). 

Tenneseans support policies to ensure the election is safe and accessible for all eligible voters:

  • Lengthen the window for early voting and allow voters to cast ballots in person up through the day before Election Day (88%); 
  • Open additional polling locations to reduce crowds and lines (84%);
  • Allow any registered Tennessee voters to vote by mail (66%); and
  • Mail all registered voters applications to vote-by-mail (52%).

Voters Concerned about COVID Impact on Unemployment and Strongly Support Bold Economic Policies

By a three-to-one margin, Tennessee voters want state governments to invest in its residents to ensure they are safe, healthy, and economically secure (58%) rather than the state keeping taxes low and cutting funds to key services like education, infrastructure, and unemployment insurance (18%).

Roughly 1-in-3 Tennessee respondents reported they have been laid-off or had their hour cut (34%). Voters express grave concerns about small business closures (85%) and losing work and income (88%). Tennesseans also believe businesses should be required to provide safe working conditions or be penalized for negligence if workers get sick (52%).

Given the current crisis, Tennesseans support policies that will address the economic hardships being faced by many:

  • Providing low-interest loans to small businesses to help them make it through the crisis (95%);
  • Extending the grace period for people to pay health insurance bills before their coverage can be canceled (92%);
  • Offering people in Tennessee the option to buy into the same public health insurance plans that are available to state employees if they want to (91%); 
  • Limiting what drug companies can charge for prescription drugs (89%);
  • Creating an insurance plan to provide paid family and medical leave for employees (84%); and
  • Requiring workplaces to provide paid sick days to their employees (81%).

Click here for more results.

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