Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publication Source

Engaging the Public: How Government and the Media Can Reinvigorate American Democracy


In 1994. the Tennessee General Assembly mandated a new early voting system that allowed voters to cast a ballot in a two-week period prior to any election. Unlike absentee balloting, which requires registrants to justify why they cannot participate on election day, early voting is available to any registered voter who chooses to do so.

By enacting early voting in Tennessee, the state legislature hoped to achieve increased turnout and easier access for citizens unable to vote at a regular polling site on election day. The purpose of this chapter is to ascertain whether the program was able to increase access for senior citizens and other citizens disadvantaged by a single election day voting period. Using county level-census data and voting returns from the 1996 election in Tennessee, we examine early voting participation by different socioeconomic groups.

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Document Version

Published Version


Copyright © 1998 from Engaging the Public, edited by Thomas J. Johnson, Carol E. Hays, and Scott P. Hays. Chapter 12 is reproduced by permission of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc. Permission documentation is on file.


Rowman & Littlefield

Place of Publication

Lanham, MD