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Suppression, Partisan Expulsions & Power in Tennessee

Featuring Robyn Sanders and Andrew Garber from the Brennan Center for Justice


Combating Division & Protecting Democratic Institutions

Featuring Maya Wiley, President and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Democracy Forum report outlines the opportunity for bipartisan action to revitalize urban and rural high poverty communities and outlines bipartisan support among Tennessee voters for federal initiative to increase economic fairness.  The report also focuses on an example of democracy delivering results --- the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that has already provided more than $1.8 billion in funding to Tennessee.

Findings of the report include:

  • 45% of eligible low-income Tennesseans failed to vote in 2020.

  • Tennessee was 46th among states in voter turnout, based on eligible population.

  • Voters in Tennessee’s nine economically “distressed” rural counties overwhelmingly backed President Trump: in the seven counties where Whites were more than 80 percent of the population, President Trump won with between 81 and 88.4 percent of the vote.

  • Yet voters in high poverty urban, Black election districts backed President Biden: President Biden won Tennessee’s Ninth Congressional District, with a poverty rate of 22.2 percent and where Black are 67.6 percent of the population, with more than 78 percent of the vote.

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