Woman concerned about purging of inactive voters in Davidson County

Photo: WKRN
Photo: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Davidson county woman told News 2 the state stripped away her right to vote this year.

Health issues have kept 62-year-old Vicki Rhodes in and out of the hospital and unable to cast her vote in recent years. She has missed the last two November elections, purging her from the registered voter roll.

“If you haven’t voted in the past two November elections, we send you a notice in your mail saying let us know do you still live at this address,” explained Jeff Roberts, administrator of elections for Davidson County.

Rhodes says she hasn’t received a notice and that she has lived in the same home for 22 years with the same landline.

“We never received any information,” she said.

Not realizing there was an issue, Rhodes applied for an absentee ballot. On Friday, she received a letter informing her that she is not a registered voter.

“It just said you must register again, because you have not voted for several years,” Rhodes explained.

The ACLU says the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently struck down the practice of purging voters from the rolls based on their failure to vote in prior elections as a violation of the national Voter Registration Act.

Roberts says if a voter isn’t on the roll, they can vote using a provisional ballot.

“That means they don’t vote on the machine, but after the election then we go through all of those provisional ballots to see if there is an opportunity for that voter to have that vote count.”

Rhodes told News 2 she doesn’t know if she will be well enough to get out and attempt to vote Tuesday.

“To think I’m having to go up against my own government to be voting for president, that’s something that I didn’t think being sick would keep you from doing,” she said.

The ACLU claims thousands of voters in Tennessee have been purged for inactivity.

The say in Davidson County alone, more than 19,000 people were purged for inactivity over a 3-year period, excluding people who were felons or died.