Tenn. Secretary of State to visit with Carson-Newman students Sept. 3

Campus News | August 31, 2015

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett

(August 31, 2015) – Carson-Newman University students will have the opportunity to visit with Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett on Thursday, September 3, when he visits campus.

The visit is part of a student voting registration drive. It is one of several events planned by the University as part of highlighting the 50th anniversary of U.S. Voting Rights Act.

"I'm thrilled to meet so many young people who are excited about the political process," said Secretary Hargett. "It is encouraging to see the next generation realize why getting involved is so important.

"Our #GoVoteTN campaign would not be successful if it weren't for on-campus voter registration drives like the one Carson-Newman students will host in a few weeks."

The University will hold its official drive the week of September 14.

According to Carson-Newman's Dr. Kara Stooksbury this year's event continues to build on past efforts.

"Every year my Political Science Senior Seminar conducts a voter registration drive during the week of Constitution Day," explained Stooksbury, who chairs the University's Department of History, Political Science and Sociology. "Last year our efforts were greatly aided by Secretary Hargett's initiative to increase voter registration in Tennessee."

Stooksbury says partnering with Hargett's office has made the process easier, and that registering 75 new voters is this year's goal.

"This year instead of just my senior seminar leading this drive, members of the Carson-Newman Pre-Law Society and SGA will also be assisting," said Stooksbury. "During a time when we have seen efforts to restrict voting rights, I think it's important to make sure as many students as possible are registered. You can't vote if you aren't registered."

Throughout the 2015-16 academic year, Carson-Newman will offer events commemorating the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The events, themed "A Simple Justice," include a September 16-17 visit by American political activist, civil rights attorney and legal scholar Peter H. Irons, who will present the University's Constitution Day lecture. A professor emeritus of political science at the University of California, San Diego, will present his lecture in Thomas Recital Hall on Sept. 16 at 6:30 p.m. He will also speak on Sept. 17 at 9:30 a.m. in Jefferson City's First Baptist Church. The public is invited.

The U.S. Voting Rights Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on August 6, 1965. The act meant to enforce the 15th Amendment of the Constitution ratified by Congress in 1870.

The bill was created to guarantee African-Americans the right to vote and made it illegal to impose restrictions on any federal, state and local elections that were designed to deny the vote to blacks.