Pledge to vote this election season

Election season is officially upon us:  Early voting for the state and federal primaries and county general election begins today and will continue until Saturday, August 2.

Voter turnout in state primary elections is typically much lower than in general elections.  Take 2012 for example.  Voter turnout for the primary reached just 18.6 percent.  In contrast, voter turnout for the general election reached 62 percent.

We think voting is so important that we are asking our advocates to join us in Pledging To Vote this election season.  We believe this is an important way to build awareness about one of our key responsibilities as American citizens.

Fill out my online form.
Online contact and registration forms from Wufoo.

Early Voting Begins Friday, July 18

Early voting for the state and federal primaries and county general election begins this Friday, July 18 and will continue until Saturday, August 2.  Utilized by many for its convenience, early voting allows eligible voters to vote at any precinct operated by their local election commission office (you are not bound to the precinct listed on your voter registration card as you are on election day).

All voters must present an ID containing the voter’s name and photograph when voting at the polls, whether voting early or on Election Day. More information on voter identification requirements can be found here.

Primary Election Day is August 7.  A roundup of election results will be posted to this website shortly after they become available.

Get Registered: Primary Election Voter Registration Deadline Today

We hope that UT Advocates will exercise their right to vote in the upcoming August 7 primary.  If you are not registered to vote, today marks an important deadline.  It is the deadline to register to vote in the August primary election.

Recent Tennessee primary election results only amplify the importance of your vote.  Some 2012 primary races were determined by 15, 11, even 5 votes.  Make sure your voice is heard at the ballot box by taking the time to register.  It only takes a moment.  Simply fill out this mail-in application for voter registration and mail it to your county election commission.  A voter registration card will be mailed to the address you’ve provided.  This card will tell you where to vote.

Mark your calendars now: Early voting begins on July 18 and runs until August 2.  Primary Election Day is August 7.

Federal Higher Education Act Reauthorization Proposals Released

US House and Senate Education Committee leaders recently released outlines of their plans to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, revealing an expected policy divide in approaches to reauthorization. House Republicans announced a focus on streamlining and consolidating federal student aid programs into “one grant, one loan, and one work-study program,” creating the “Flex Pell” to allow students to draw down grant funding outside the traditional academic schedule, addressing cost drivers of the Pell Grant Program, encouraging competency-based and online education, eliminating certain regulations affecting colleges, and preventing a government rating system for higher education.  House priorities can be viewed here.

Two Senate proposals also have been outlined—the Higher Education Affordability Act proposed by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and the Financial Aid Simplification and Transparency Act (FAST Act) by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Michael Bennet (D-CO).  Senator Harkin’s proposal calls for year-round Pell Grants, new federal accountability measures for colleges, increased consumer protection for student loan borrowers, and a State-Federal College Affordability Partnership to increase state investment in public higher education and lower tuition costs.  More information on Harkin’s proposal is available here.

Senators Alexander and Bennet’s proposal includes provisions aimed at simplifying federal financial aid processes, streamlining federal grant and loan programs, discouraging over-borrowing by tying the amount a student is authorized to borrow to enrollment status (e.g. full-time, part-time), simplifying repayments, and allowing the use of Pell Grants year-round.  The proposal would eliminate the FAFSA and instead create the “Student Aid Short Form,” requiring answers to the following two questions:  What is your family size? What was your household income two years ago?  Click here for more information.

We’ll keep you updated as these proposals make their way through the federal legislative process.  Check back soon for more information.