Little conversations can have a big impact
My guess is that most Out & About Nashville readers are more informed about the November election than the average Tennessee resident. You might be surprised what your friends and neighbors don’t know about the upcoming election, and you might also be surprised by how it easy it is for you to have a quick conversation that will get them up to speed.
Here are a few examples of election conversations I have stumbled into over the last few weeks.
When is the Election?
I wore a Karl Dean for Governor campaign sticker into one of the Bellevue Twice Daily locations last week. The clerk asked me, “The governor’s race already happened, right?” Rather than shake our heads when our neighbors don’t know when an election is, let’s give someone credit for asking. Election Day is November 6. Early voting starts on October 17.
Have you checked your voter registration?
I was talking with a friend last week who isn’t politically active. I asked him whether he is registered to vote. He said, “I voted in the Trump-Clinton election. So I think so.” I asked him to check his registration at https://proudvoter.org/tep on his phone. His registration did not show up. But he can correct that before October 9, which is the voter registration deadline in Tennessee. I wonder how many of our friends are in for an unpleasant surprise when they show up at the polls. Let’s reach out to our friends as soon as we can so that they are ready to go.
What have you heard about the candidates?
One night I was at Legend’s in Lebanon, where they play great 80s music, by the way. As I was getting my check, I asked the server, “So what have you heard about the Governor’s race.” “Nothing really,” she said. That reminded me that the conversations we have might be the first or the main source of information people have about a particular race this year. Just asking a simple question might give you the opening to pick up another vote for a pro-equality candidate.
How can I register to vote?
Last week I was at East Nashville Beer Works for Jim Shulman’s election night watch party. A friend and I were talking about online voter registration while we were in line (yes, I really do have geeky political conversations at breweries). I showed him our business cards with the voter registration link and the scannable QR code. Someone overheard our conversation and said, “Actually I need one of those cards. I’m not registered.” Isn’t it great that she took the initiative in that moment!. You don’t need a card to help your friends get registered, though. You can simply send them this link: https://proudvoter.org/tep/ .
The way I see it, any of us can have conversations like the ones that I have had over the last few weeks. It comes down to a few simple pieces of information that we should keep at hand:
Deadline to Register to Vote October 9
Early Voting StartsOctober 17
Election DayNovember 6
Link to Register or Check Registration https://proudvoter.org/tep/ .
Or you can simply bookmark this article and send it to your friends.
There are thousands of people in our networks who don’t know the basics. The campaigns are trying to inform them, but your friends are more likely to listen to you. The election really is in our hands.
Chris Sanders is the executive director of the Tennessee Equality Project.