League of Women Voters hosting several events this week to get voters registered, engaged

League of Women Voters hosting several events this week to get voters registered, engaged

September 23rd, 2018 by Judy Walton in Local Regional News

From a register-by-phone campaign to a concert and an all-candidate meet and greet, the League of Women Voters has a host of events planned this week around National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday.

Starting Monday, Chattanoogans visiting local cafes, coffee shops and hair salons may see messaging reminding them they can register to vote on their phones.

Sharon Alexander, co-president of the league's Chattanooga chapter, said the "table tents" will send residents to GoVoteTn.com, where they can register online. The Tennessee Secretary of State's Office said online voter registration began in 2017.

"You don't have to physically go someplace, or go down to the voter center" to get registered, Alexander said.

Residents must register no later than 30 days before the Nov. 6 election if they want to cast a ballot.

The league is sponsoring a rock concert and voter registration event Wednesday night at Songbirds featuring The Afternooners, said Shelby O'Quinn, who organized the event in hopes of getting students and young adults registered and voting.

"Only somewhat like 20 to 30 percent of people around my age vote, which is a pretty sad number," O'Quinn said. "I don't think people understand how lucky we are to have a democracy, and democracy doesn't work if you don't participate."

The league also will be hosting voter registration Tuesday at Chattanooga State, over the coming weekend at the Hamilton County Fair, Oct. 1 at the Dodson Health Fair and Oct. 7 at the Chattanooga Pride parade and festival at Ross's Landing.

All but one of the candidates for Tennessee House seats in Hamilton County are set for the meet and greet Monday, said Maria Sabin, secretary for the league's Chattanooga chapter.

"I think a lot of people don't realize that the Tennessee statehouse representatives they choose [are] very important because it will affect them personally a lot more than national politics," Sabin said Friday.

She added that many people aren't sure what House district they're in, but the league will staff a table where people can learn their district and be directed to the right candidates.

"If they're interested in health care, if they're interested in school safety, these are the people they should be talking to," she said." They can almost certainly have a chance to talk to the people who will be representing them in Nashville. They need to learn about the issues and make up their own minds, and definitely they need to get out there and vote."

Candidates confirmed for attendance include Democrat Jean Marie Lawrence and Republican Robin Smith in District 26; Republican Patsy Hazlewood and Democrat Brent Morris in District 27; Democrat Yusuf Hakeem and Republican Lemon Williams Jr. in District 28; Tammy Magouirk, the Democratic nominee in District 29; and Republican Esther Helton and Democrat Joda Thongnopnua in District 30.

The event runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Chattanooga Room of the University Center at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

The League of Women Voters is a nearly 100-year-old, nonpartisan organization that promotes informed and active participation in government, including elections, the voting process and issues.

Contact staff writer Judy Walton at jwalton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6416.