CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Interest in the midterm election is at a fever pitch in much of the country, with both Democrats and Republicans far more passionate than they’ve been in more than a decade.
Could this be the year that Tennessee’s Montgomery County shows up to vote?
Located northwest of Nashville along the Kentucky border, this county often has one of the lowest voting rates in the state – in a state that often has one of the lowest rates in the country, and in a country that has one of the lowest rates in the world, trailing most developed nations.
During the divisive 2016 presidential election, Montgomery County registered its lowest turnout in the past six presidential elections. Of residents who were old enough to vote, just 42 percent actually did, according to a Washington Post analysis. Meanwhile, the national rate was 61 percent and statewide was 51 percent, according to the U.S. Elections Project. Historically, those numbers fall in midterm elections.
“I had no reason to,” said Austin Batey, 25, a call-center operator and libertarian who didn’t vote in the 2012 or 2016 presidential elections and doesn’t plan to vote in November. “I just don’t feel I can change politics. Or, if I could help change it, I’d just be voting for someone whose solutions I don’t agree with.”