UPDATE: Voter registration deadline Oct. 9; number of new voters - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Voter registration deadline Oct. 9; number of new voters higher this year

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: In Tennessee and Georgia, the deadline to register to vote is tomorrow, October 9th which marks one month until the 2018 midterm elections.

The voter registration deadline in North Carolina is October 12th and October 22nd in Alabama.

More than 202,000 people are registered to vote in Hamilton County and it is steadily rising according to voter registration officials.

We spoke to Mark Vercellotti who was in the process of registering to vote and he says there is no reason why people should not get up and vote.

"I’m getting tired of getting angry and running my mouth and having nothing to back it, so now I am trying to step forward and do what we all are supposed to do as Americans."

It's been 10-15 years since Mark Vercellotti registered to vote, but he believes this mid-term election is an important one. He says that the current political climate has created a divide in this country and says that if we want better representation it's time to get up, be heard, and vote. 

"We just need to get out there and vote regardless of what age you are from 18 to 150 it doesn't matter. If you claim to be an American whether you’re liberal, conservative, democrat, republican, middle of the road it doesn't matter."

Kerry Steelman is the administrator of elections and says that there is an uptick in the number of registered voters.

Historically, voter turn-out for midterms is low in Hamilton County but officials say the number of new voters is significantly larger than in previous years.

“We saw about roughly 2,000 new voters registered during this time from the August registration deadline to last Friday. Overall we've had over a little of 5,000 new voter registrations,” stated Steelman.

To register to vote or change your information online, visit GoVoteTN or you can register in person at the Hamilton County Election Commission at 700 River Terminal Road.

For more information, call their office at 423-493-5101, email Vote@hamiltontn.gov or visit the Hamilton County Election Commission website. 

 


UPDATE: Midterm elections are a month away, and it's a good time to make sure you are registered to vote.

The Hamilton County Voters Coalition hosted a voter registration day at seven churches to reach more people before the deadline.

The senior pastor at one of the churches said people should vote in the presidential and midterm elections because they impact every community.

"These communities are affected by both, but if we can get the masses of our people involved and engaged to what's going on locally, they can get a feel and a sense of how local laws and proposals affect them," Pastor Carlos Williams said. "Then they can see what that looks like on a national and statewide level."

Pastor Williams said they will give free rides to the polls.

Hamilton County is the fifth largest area in the state, yet it ranked dead last in voter participation in the August primaries.

The deadline to register to vote in Georgia and Tennessee is this Tuesday.


PREVIOUS STORY: The clock is ticking. If you want your voice to be heard in November, you'll have to make sure you're registered to vote by Tuesday, October 9th.

In Hamilton County, there's a big push to make sure people get their voices heard. Some places of worship will soon offer a different message to their congregations.

READ MORE | Decision 2018     

"There are lower voter turnouts at those precincts, so we want to increase the voter turnout by starting with voter registration," Raquetta Dotley, of the Hamilton County Voters Coalition, said.

Dotley is working to make sure more people in the African American community are a part of the process during the upcoming election cycle. The coalition is hosting a 'Voter Registration Day' at seven area churches to reach more people before the deadline.

  • East Chattanooga: Orchard Knob MBC (1734 E. 3rd Street, 37404)
  • Downtown: St. Paul AME Church (2514 Williams Street, 37408)
  • Eastlake: New Horizon BC (2007 E. 27th Street, 37407)
  • Southside: Westside MBC (4001 Hughes Avenue, 37410)
  • Brainerd: Greater Tucker MBC (1115 N. Moore Rd, 37411)
  • Highway 58: Mt. Canaan BC (4801 TN-58, 37416)
  • Eastdale Community Village Church (1403 Tunnel Blvd, 37411)
  • Loc Nest: 5815 Ringgold Road Suite A, 37412: 12pm - 5pm

"These are very important elections, very important seats coming up, US Senate seats, district House seats, so we want everybody to get out to the polls," Dotley said.

However, it's not just African Americans not voting, it's a countywide problem. Hamilton County is the fifth largest area in the state, yet ranked dead last in voter participation in the August primaries.

Dotley said aging populations in the minority community are more inclined to vote. It's the millennials she often hears excuses from.

"The older population, of course, they're going to vote. They actually went through the struggles to vote, having to go pay poll taxes and having to go read the constitution and things like that so they have greater value in it. Millennials are inclined to say, 'well that's my right, it's my choice to vote' and not understand the struggle that people sometimes went through to be able to vote so they didn't have those struggles so sometimes it's hard to relate to what those issues are," she explained.

Right now, there are about 148,000 unregistered voters in Hamilton County alone. Dotley said it's too many being left out of the conversation.

"That is your voice that makes a huge difference. There is people power and the power is in your voice and your voice is your vote," she said.

If you can't make it to one of the churches on Saturday, you can always register online or at the election commission.

Anyone who wants to participate in the November 6th state and federal general election has to register by Tuesday, October 9th, and early voting begins on Wednesday the 17th.

In order to register to vote, you must be a United States citizen, at least 18 years old and a legal resident of Hamilton County when submitting a voter registration application. You also cannot have been convicted of a felony or, if you have such a conviction, have your voting rights restored as required by state law.

To register to vote or change your information online visit GoVoteTN, or you can register in person at the Hamilton County Election Commission, 700 River Terminal Road. For more information, you can call their office 423-493-5101, email Vote@hamiltontn.gov or visit the Hamilton County Election Commission website. 

 


PREVIOUS STORY: The Hamilton County Voters Coalition is holding a city-wide voter registration day on Saturday, October 6 at area churches between 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. 

There are seven locations where you can register to vote, update their information, or check their registration status. 

  • East Chattanooga: Orchard Knob MBC (1734 E. 3rd Street, 37404)
  • Downtown: St. Paul AME Church (2514 Williams Street, 37408)
  • Eastlake: New Horizon BC (2007 E. 27th Street, 37407)
  • Southside: Westside MBC (4001 Hughes Avenue, 37410)
  • Brainerd: Greater Tucker MBC (1115 N. Moore Rd, 37411)
  • Highway 58: Mt. Canaan BC (4801 TN-58, 37416)
  • Eastdale Community Village Church (1403 Tunnel Blvd, 37411)
  • Loc Nest: 5815 Ringgold Road Suite A, 37412: 12pm - 5pm

 

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