What Tennesseans Need to Know About the Proposed Constitutional Amendments on the Nov. 8 Ballot

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Secretary of State Tre Hargett wants voters to know about the four proposed Constitutional amendments on the Nov. 8 State and Federal General Election ballot and the process for amendments to pass in Tennessee.

“Our Tennessee Constitution is the foundation of our state government and this November, there will be four proposed Constitutional amendments on the ballot,” said Secretary Hargett. “It’s important for voters to not only know what these proposed amendments are but also understand how amendments become part of our Constitution so they can make informed voting decisions.”

In Tennessee, proposed Constitutional amendments are presented as yes or no questions on the ballot. A yes vote is a vote to amend the Constitution and adopt the proposed language in the amendment. A no vote is a vote not to amend the Constitution and keep the current language in the Constitution unchanged.

Two things must happen for an amendment to pass and become part of the Constitution. The first is the amendment must get more yes votes than no votes. The second is that the number of yes votes must be a majority of the total votes in the gubernatorial election. Tennessee’s longstanding process to determine the results for proposed Constitutional amendments was confirmed by a court decision following the 2014 general election.

To determine the number of votes needed to adopt a proposed Constitutional amendment, votes for all candidates for governor are added together and then divided by two. If there are more yes votes than no votes on the proposed amendment and the number of yes votes exceeds 50% +1 of the total votes for governor, the amendment passes and becomes part of the Constitution. The Constitutional amendment fails if the number of yes votes does not meet or exceed the threshold or if there are more no votes than yes votes.

Although the number of votes cast for governor is used to determine the threshold for a proposed Constitutional amendment to pass, it is not necessary to vote in the governor’s race to vote on the Constitutional amendments. Likewise, it is not necessary to vote on any of the amendments to vote in the governor’s race.

On the ballot, voters will see the candidates for governor, followed directly by the four proposed amendments. After the proposed Constitutional amendments, voters will have the opportunity to vote for candidates for the United States House of Representatives and the county’s remaining offices on the general election ballot.

The four proposed amendments were approved to appear on the Nov. 8 ballot by the 111th and 112th General Assemblies.

The four proposed amendments to the Tennessee Constitution on the Nov. 8 ballot:

  1. An amendment to Article XI, of the Constitution of Tennessee, relative to the right to work
  2. An amendment to Article II and Article III of the Constitution of Tennessee, relative to the exercise of the powers and duties of the Governor during disability.
  3. An amendment to Article I, Section 33 of the Constitution of Tennessee, to prohibit slavery and involuntary servitude.
  4. An amendment to Article IX, of the Constitution of Tennessee, relative to disqualifications.

To see the exact language for the proposed Constitutional amendments that will appear on the ballot, including a summary of each amendment written by the Tennessee Attorney General’s office, visit sos.tn.gov/amendments.

The Secretary of State’s office and local county election commissions are Tennessee’s trusted sources for accurate election information. For the latest information about the Nov. 8 State and Federal General Election, follow the Secretary of State’s social media channels Twitter: @SecTreHargett, Facebook: Tennessee Secretary of State and Instagram: @tnsecofstate. For more information about the proposed Constitutional amendments, visit sos.tn.gov/amendments or call the Division of Elections at 1-877-850-4959.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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