The Importance of Involvement on the Local Level

By Calkins, Audrey M. | The University of Memphis Law Review, January 1, 2019 | Go to article overview

The Importance of Involvement on the Local Level


Calkins, Audrey M., The University of Memphis Law Review


Today, you get a thirty-minute presentation about that time I showed up to vote and was told: "No you can't," which is the less formal name of my presentation today: The Importance of Involvement on the Local Level. I do labor and employment defense. Voting rights is not my practice area, and having my right to vote denied is not something I had ever expected to experience. But I think it's a good learning opportunity about how obstacles are in place to vote in this city, county, state, and country for everyone, and how we can work to change that.

I'm not from Memphis. I am from Sevier County in East Tennessee, a very different place from Memphis in every way. I moved here to clerk after law school for Judge Anderson in federal court from 2011 to 2012. Then I moved to Houston, Texas, to practice but decided I wanted to live in Memphis instead and do labor and employment law because those cases are interesting. I moved back to Memphis in March 2014. I bought a house in Evergreen,1 which matters for reasons we will discuss later. Then, when I belatedly changed my driver's license. I registered to vote at the Department ol' Motor Vehicles.

This screenshot shows the day, January 29, 2015, that I registered to vote in Shelby County and complied with Tennessee's voter registration requirements. I got this proof from the Shelby County Election Commission, after sending a couple of nastygrams. This screenshot shows affirmative proof of my registration on January 29, 2015-a thing that is important.

I also voted after I registered because voting is fun and important. I voted in a couple of elections in 2015. There was a municipal election, then there was a runoff-I voted in that too. Voting was great. I got to v ote in all those elections, but only once per election!

So I have proof that I voted and proof that I was registered. The second election I voted in after registering in Tennessee was on November 19, 2015. So, then what happens?

It was Tuesday, March 1, 2016. It was raining, and it was cold. I remember those details because I had a client meeting, and I had to get to my polling place in time to vote and make it to the meeting by 10:00 a.m. I got to the poll very early. I vote at Trinity United Methodist. I had my driver license and my voter registration card because I knew what the law was, and I knew I need to be prepared. I walked up and handed the poll workers my registration. They said, "You're not in the system," and I replied, "What do you mean, try my last name? It doesn't have a 'u' in it. Just check the spelling." Again, they said, "It's still not there." Then I said, "Let me see the screen, my first name has an 'e' in it, it's not 'u-d-r-y.' Let's make sure." They turned the screen towards me, and they had spelled my name right. I wasn't in the system. Then I said, "Well then, search for my address." They searched for my address, and it wasn't there either. Then, I suggested, "Try adding 'North' instead of just the plain street name?" It still wasn't there. They then said, "Y ou have your registration card, and it says that you're registered, but you're not in our system. So, all you can do today is cast a provisional ballot." I said "Okay." What choice did I have?

Has anybody had to cast a provisional ballot in this room? For the record, the answer is no, and there's probably around 100 people in this room. The provisional ballot looks kind of like the screens you see on your electronic voting screen but it's on paper. You check the boxes, sign it, and say that you are who you say you are, are not a convicted felon, are a registered voter, are a U.S. citizen, are eligible to vote, and so on.

I cast the provisional ballot. I didn't come prepared to vote with proof of residency at my address or whatever you need to have to prove residency when you go to the DMV. I didn't come with two months of utility bills. I didn't come with a bank statement. I didn't come with all the documents that you need to prove where you live when I submitted my provisional ballot. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Importance of Involvement on the Local Level
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.