More than 4.4 million Tennesseans are registered to vote ahead of the November election — a record number, according to the secretary of state’s office, and one that will increase as the state continues processing mail-in registrations.
Many of them are newly registered, including Salem Roberts in Chattanooga. He’s never voted in an election and says for a long time didn’t believe in the way the system works. But this year, he says, is different.
“Even if I don’t agree with it, or I don’t feel like my vote is effective or anything like that, if there’s anything that I can do to change where we are right now, I want to try,” Roberts says.
He says it will feel strange voting for the first time at age 34, but he can tell it’s made an impact on those close to him, like his 13-year-old son. “To see that at least somebody is using their voice to try, I think that was really important to him,” Roberts says.
He says this experience has pushed him to be more civically engaged in the future, and he plans to vote again after this presidential election.
Monday was the deadline to register to vote in the general election. Early voting begins next Wednesday, and Election Day is Nov. 3.
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