Challenge: Tennessee ranks 50th in voter turnout—and 40th in voter registration. To reconnect Tennessee voters to the democratic process and inspire voter participation, Kate Ezell has been part of a voter awareness initiative, Project Register, working alongside lawmakers, businesses, and civic leaders to improve Tennessee’s voter engagement.

Project Register

Background: Working with key Tennessee lawmakers, companies, and organizations, this initiative increased the awareness of voter registration in Middle Tennessee. By reaching out to Tennesseans where they live, learn, work, and play, the Kate worked to improve the culture in the community about voting.

Beginning in area high schools, the initiative has increased high school registration rates by 85%. Project Register in area schools continues today, having reached out to students in most Davidson County and many Cheatham and Dickson County high schools. Students viewed a video and were then led in conversation by city, state, or national elected officials who told stories about very close elections and to emphasize the value of every voter making their voice known.

Solution: Kate Ezell managed Project Register in the business community, reaching out to area corporations and nonprofits. When told the Tennessee voter engagement facts, area CEOs and leaders of Middle Tennessee companies and nonprofit organizations offered to incorporate voter registration into their employee onboarding process and to message employees about approaching voter registration deadlines, voting locations, and election dates. Participants were amenable to receiving and sharing periodic messaging with facts about registration deadlines and early voting dates and locations.

The strategy was to first approach the region’s largest employers, publicly traded companies and major sports franchises, and all area colleges and universities. Additional targets include industry associations, law firms, entertainment firms, healthcare companies, commercial real estate companies, manufacturing companies, and the hospitality industry. Nine months into the work, close to 200 participating organizations, impacting over 350,000 employees & constituents, have agreed to message Middle Tennesseans where they learn, live, work, and play to increase voter engagement.