Early voting began Wednesday, and election officials are making their final preparations for the 2014 general elections. On Nov. 4, Tennesseans will return to the polls to determine who will represent them in the state Senate and House of Representatives, the United States House and Senate and the governor's office. You can find a listing of these candidates at http://tn.gov/sos/election/Petitions_Filed.pdf
In addition to these important elections, there are four proposed amendments to the state Constitution on the ballot and many municipal elections throughout the state. You can view these amendments by visiting http://www.tn.gov/sos/election/amendments/CombinedAmendments.pdf.
Although we are fast approaching the end of a long election season, this is no time to be complacent. While voter turnout tends to be lower in non-presidential years, these races on the ballot are important and the winners will have a direct impact on the future prosperity of our great state.
As Secretary of State, one of my most important responsibilities is encouraging voter registration and the civic responsibility of voting in our elections. During this election cycle we continued our popular "I'm Registered" campaign during September, which is nationally recognized as Voter Registration Month. In this campaign, we have asked celebrities and regular citizens alike to pose for photos with signs saying "I'm Registered to Vote. Are You?" and post those photos on social media sites. This campaign has become so popular that other states have adopted it as well.
Additionally, we increased our efforts to bring more new voters into our electoral process. Our office helped coordinate voter registration drives on nearly two dozen college campuses during the month of September. These drives resulted in more than 1,000 new people joining the ranks of Tennessee voters.
During the 2012 elections we introduced the Honor Vote program which gives Tennesseans a way to pay tribute to active, retired and deceased members of our military personnel when casting ballots. By spending just a few minutes on our website, people can dedicate the votes they cast to the people who protect our freedom to participate in democratic elections. We proudly continued this tribute during the 2014 elections and continue to be humbled by how many Tennesseans participate. All participants receive commemorative buttons to wear as they dedicate their vote in honor or memory of their loved ones.
Information about the Honor Vote program and the "I'm Registered" program are both available on our elections website, www.GoVoteTN.com
Finally we are unveiling a new elections application called GoVoteTN. You can visit either the Apple Store or Google Play store to download this new smartphone app. This new offering will provide voter registration information as well as directions to your voting site. Additionally, the application offers a listing of your elected officials as well as providing a sample ballot for you to use as you prepare to vote in the upcoming election. Lastly, our election night return service will be available as well. Don’t worry you can still view the results on our traditional website or by following us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SecTreHargett .
Please remember to exercise your right to vote. I encourage you to learn more about the candidates and amendments on the ballot and be an educated consumer with your vote. Whether you vote early or on Election Day, take the time to participate in the process. We are indeed fortunate to live in a great state and nation that grants us this liberty.
As always, I thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Secretary of State. Please contact my office if we can ever be of assistance to you.