In 2018, The Equity Alliance led the Tennessee Black Voter Project as part of a collective effort to register approximately 91,000 Black and brown Tennesseans. It was the first and largest statewide effort in Tennessee’s modern history dedicated to registering Black people to vote. Six months later, politicians passed a law to harshly punish, fine, and criminalize voter registration drives.
The Aye for an Aye campaign was a direct response to voter suppression laws enacted to punish voter registration drives like ours. As a joint effort by The Equity Alliance and other state-based organizations and individuals, it committed to registering Black and Latinx voters in legislative districts where House and Senate lawmakers voted “yes” (aye) on the voter registration criminalization bill. For lawmaker’s who voted yes (“aye”) in the House and Senate to pass this law, we registered 100 voters who committed to voting in the 2020 election.
The purpose of the listening sessions was to educate attendees about the recent voter suppression bill and to move people to take action before the law went into effect in October 2020. We fought hard to keep voter registration, and we won.