I think Bill Haslam has made an excellent governor. He has governed with common sense conservative values. He and the Republican-controlled legislature have advanced education reform and cut taxes and increased government efficiency. I could hardly be more pleased with a governor that I am Governor Haslam. So why am I not voting for Haslam in the upcoming election? Because I am in favor of all four proposed constitutional amendments.
It is designed to be difficult to amend our State constitution. In order for an amendment to pass, it does not just have to have more people vote for it than vote against it. A proposed amendment must get one more vote than 50% of the number of people who vote in the Governor's race.
For sake of simplicity assume 100,000 people vote in the governor's race. Assume not everyone who votes will vote on the amendments. There are some people who feel duty-bound to vote in every election but who may feel too uninformed about the amendments to cast a vote. Assume that 50,000 people vote for Amendment one and 45,000 vote against it. Does it pass? No. It would have required 50,001 votes to pass.
Now assume some people vote for Amendment one and do not vote in the governor's race. Assume only 95,000 vote in the governor's race and 50,000 vote for amendment one and 45,000 vote against it. Does it pass? Yes. One more than 50% of those voting for governor in this example is 47501. By not voting in the governor's race, you are lowering the threshold of the number required for an amendment to pass.
What is the risk of doing this? Mark Rogers a local Republican Party activist whose opinion I value said there is considerable risk. He spoke on this subject at a meeting of Caffeinated Conservatives yesterday. He said many of the vote-no-on-amendment-1 people will be driven to the polls by this issue alone. Despite that Charlie Brown is a clown and no one knows hardly anything about him and he has no credentials and experience, the no-on-one voters will vote for the Democratic nominee for Governor. Rogers says by failing to vote for Haslam, we could end up with Charlie Brown being our governor.
Is this likely? I seriously doubt it. I just do not think that many people will vote for Charlie Brown. If Haslam had a serious challenger I would not be advocating this strategy. While I respect Mark Roger's opinion, I think he is wrong. Not that many people will understand the value of abstaining from voting in the governors race. So, I am going to risk it and vote for the amendments and vote in races down-ballot and abstain from voting for governor. To lower the threshold of the required number necessary for an amendment to pass, will not require that many people to abstain from voting in the governors race. A few people abstaining from voting in the governor's race could make the difference in the vote on the constitutional amendments.
If you understand what I have been explaining there no need to read further. Some people cannot grasp that if more people vote for an amendment than vote against it, that is does not pass. Talking to them one-on-one and seeing their comments on Facebook, some people are just not convinced that that is correct. It is.
Here is the Wikipedia explanation:
Under the legislative method (which is a quite lengthy process), the Tennessee General Assembly must pass a resolution calling for an amendment and stating its wording, and must do so in three separate readings on three separate days, with an absolute majority on all readings. The resolution does not require the governor's approval.
The amendment must then be published at least six months before the next legislative election, but is not placed on the ballot at that time. Instead, once the legislative election is held, the proposed amendment must go another three readings, three day voting process. At this stage the amendment now requires approval of 2/3 of the legislature on each vote.
Finally, the amendment is placed on the ballot as a referendum coinciding with the next gubernatorial election. For the amendment to pass, the number of yes votes must be greater than one-half the number of votes cast for governor.Here is the wording from the State constitution:
Article XI, Section 3 of the Tennessee State Constitution
Any amendment or amendments to this Constitution may be proposed in the Senate or House of Representatives, and if the same shall be agreed to by a majority of all the members elected to each of the two houses, such proposed amendment or amendments shall be entered on their journals with the yeas and nays thereon, and referred to the General Assembly then next to be chosen; and shall be published six months previous to the time of making such choice; and if in the General Assembly then next chosen as afore-said, such proposed amendment or amendments shall be agreed to by two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, then it shall be the duty of the General Assembly to submit such proposed amendment or amendments to the people at the next general election in which a governor is to be chosen. And if the people shall approve and ratify such amendment or amendments by a majority of all the citizens of the state voting for governor, voting in their favor, such amendment or amendments shall become a part of this Constitution. When any amendment or amendments to the Constitution shall be proposed in pursuance of the foregoing provisions the same shall at each of said sessions be read three times on three several days in each house.