At the 2nd Annual Community and Social Justice Fair that I attended yesterday at Pellissippi State Community College, I had a number of amazing conversations with community organizers and activists. One booth that I am highlighting in this post is about the Single Transferable Vote used in Australia, the UK, and in the City of Knoxville’s At-Large Seats. As long-time readers of this blog know, I am always open to new ways to get citizens informed and motivated to vote in elections. I was at first skeptical of this gentleman’s idea but after a lengthy conversation, I support this voting reform initiative as well as others that I have previously advocated for. As I say for many issues, anything and everything should be on the table when we want to make a change.
Currently in Tennessee we have 99 House districts. We have a primary in August and a general election in November. In 2016, 38% of our legislative elections had only one candidate. Our districts are drawn to favor a certain political party and therefore we often don’t have voters who turn out or candidates willing to run because the district’s voting numbers don’t favor them.
Below is a handout that I got yesterday from the STV booth. What you will see on the right is a redrawn state with only 11 districts. In each district we will elect 3 State Senate seats and 9 House seats. The top 3 vote getters in the Senate race will win while the top 9 vote getters in the House race will win. The districts will be more competitive, voters will be more engaged because politicians will have to talk to everyone and work for everyone. We would not have a primary and election process, only a single election day.
I would happily support this organization’s efforts to reform our election system. We can work on reforming elections in the City of Knoxville, Knox County, and Tennessee.