Bil Browning

Tennessee amendment strategy

Filed By Bil Browning | October 29, 2006 1:07 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: amendment, marriage, Tennessee

Wow. People get confused when you start to explain Indiana's constitutional amendment process to them. It has to pass one legislature, then pass again unchanged through a separately elected legislature, then pass a popular election. It takes a while to change our constitution, but Hoosiers don't seem to like change much, eh?

But check out what's going on in Tennessee with their discrimination amendment. I won't try to explain it - I'll just clip from the article. Personally, I don't really see the point of Tennessee's method, while Indiana's at least seems somewhat thoughtful. Which way seems better to you?

In order for any constitutional amendment to be ratified, according to the Tennessee Division of Elections, "the amendment must get more 'yes' votes than 'no' votes; and the number of 'yes' votes must be a majority of the votes cast in the gubernatorial election."

In an attempt to further explain the rules, the Division of Elections states, "To determine the votes needed, all votes for all candidates for governor are added together. This number is divided by two or halved. The number of 'yes' votes must exceed that number."

OK, so here's the rub.

...A person who wants the amendment to pass could ignore the governor's race, but vote for the amendment, and thus would be considered as voting for the bill twice.

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Don Sherfick | October 29, 2006 7:03 AM

In the words of one Tennesseean (or is it Volunteer?): "I actually abstained from voting for governor before I voted against him so I could vote for the amendment before I voted against it and after I abstained from it." Or am I thinking of someone else?

Well, Bil, Indiana's process is more thoughtful, and it takes longer.

More importantly, I'd like to know, why are we sitting by idly, while Speaker-to-be Bauer flips positions?

I've spoken to multiple members of that caucus, and his move was a complete surprise to them. There are some conservative caucus members who believe the reason they lost control of the House was this issue. Balderdash.

Bauer's betrayal is amazing. The prevailing mood seems to be, "When Democrats control the House, they'll change the wording ot the Amendment."

The result: the process will have to start again.

This view ignores one thing: voters' intellegence, and Republicans' pandering at any cost. They're shameless. And if this Amendment changes a few words, don't you think the Republicans will point that out, loudly?

Why we're not marching on Bauer's house is beyond me.

Nero fiddled while Rome burned.

No vote on this Amendment was and is our best strategy.

I think you are trickier that the polls. I am not sure that is a good thing. I do not think you would "be considered as voting twice", but it would give the amendment a greater chance of passing. I suspect that the reason for this provision is to avoid amendments passed by special or off year elections. That would be a good thing. It would also prevent an amendment from slipping under the radar because no one understood it and only three people bothered to vote on it (two for and one against).