Turnout will set a new record in Tennessee, topping 3 million votes. But there were still plenty of residents who sat out this election — including those who did so intentionally.
“Both candidates scare me a little bit,” says Joe Corbitt, a grandfather from Gallatin. “Trump is to some extent, to me, unsteady. And Joe Biden, I’m not confident — it sounds bad, I guess, but — that mentally he’s up to the task.”
Corbitt says he discussed his decision with his wife and consulted other family members, and ultimately he decided he couldn’t vote for someone who he didn’t think would lead the country well.
On Tuesday afternoon, with the polls still open, it wasn’t hard to find non-voters.
I’m out talking with people who didn’t vote this year. Je’na Johnson of Murphreesboro recently moved from Orlando. She tried to vote, but was turned away Because she only had a Florida ID. Is this really not allowed, @sectrehargett? pic.twitter.com/rhsE3UYDbb
— Blake Farmer (@flakebarmer) November 3, 2020
Nashville baker Taryn Schacher says she can’t vote for someone who doesn’t have her full faith.
“I feel like either one is not the best decision, so I just decided to let everybody else make that choice,” Schacher says. “I’ve never been a huge fan of either way.”
The result wasn’t close in Tennessee, with President Trump receiving more than 60% of the vote in early returns.
Some non-voters had a more specific message in their non participation.
“It doesn’t matter if I vote or not. I’m still not going to be able to find a job,” says Anthony Tiller of Murfreesboro, who is Black. “A lot of people voted for Obama, but we’re still in the position we’re in.”
Fairview native Jason Huggins says he had plenty of time to get to the polls. But both Trump and Biden were too old for his liking, and he says they seemed to care only about money and less about people.
“I like money just as much as anybody else, don’t get me wrong. But you’ve got thousands of people homeless out here, and nobody is doing anything about it,” says Huggins, who has been homeless at points in his life. “They can give these defense contractors billions of dollars, but yet you can’t buy a homeless person a port-a-john and put it on the streets?”
But some wanted to vote and couldn’t.
Je’na Johnson of Murfreesboro is a mother and waitress. She relocated from Orlando in the last year but still had a Florida drivers license. When she showed up to the polls, she was informed of Tennessee’s voter ID law, which requires a Tennessee or federal ID.
“I did want my voice to be heard — as people say — so that kind of bummed me out,” she says. “I wanted to add to the cause.”