A few weeks ago, I posted a piece about some federal legislation that might affect the amount of mortgage interest you can deduct each year.  I started that post by remembering a good rule for life… that discussion of politics, money and religion is not for casual conversation. I still believe it and I’ll continue to honor that tenet, but as we approach Election Day on Tuesday, November 6th, I’ve been thinking about what it means to live the “American Dream.”   Home ownership has long been considered a major milestone for families who want to live that dream and Realtors are often privileged to watch those dreams come true for their clients.  Throughout our country’s history, there were many who realized that the right and ability to own property, to live in a free and democratic society could and would never be secured without the right to vote.

So today, I digress from my usual blogs about Williamson County real estate statistics or ideas for improving the value of your home to remember the path we’ve traveled to ensure this very basic foundation of any democratic society: the right of our citizens to vote.  In 1870, the United States Congress ratified the fifteenth amendment which stated “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”  Shortly after its passage, Thomas Mundy Peterson, the son of a freed slave, was the first African-American to vote in a local election in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.
In 1920, after years of dedication by the Women’s Suffrage Movement, Congress amended the Constitution for the nineteenth time, guaranteeing that no state can deny the right of a citizen to vote based on their sex.  Let’s remember Susan B. Anthony and Carrie Chapman Catt, just two of the brave women who helped secure fair voting practices, when we enter the voting booth on Tuesday.
Many suffrage scholars remember Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and our 36th President, Lyndon B.Johnson as huge proponents of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Although not a constitutional amendment, the Voting Rights Act echoed much of the sentiment of the 15th amendment and sought to eliminate discriminatory practices that had disenfranchised many African American voters.  It was renewed in 2006 and continues to be a landmark of Civil Rights legislation.   In 1971,the twenty-sixth amendment to the Constitution barred the states or federal government from setting a voting age higher than eighteen.
Let’s honor the brave Americans who ensuredthat we all have the ability to exercise our democratic right to vote onTuesday, November 6th.  If you don’t know your polling site, check your voter registration card or click here . Remember, in Tennessee, you’ll need a photo ID to vote.  Any of the following ID’s may be used, even if expired:
·        TennesseeDriver’s License
·        US Passport
·        Photo ID issued by the TN Department of Safety
·        Photo ID issued by the federal or any state government
·        United States Military ID
·        State issued handgun carry permit with your photo
Happy Voting!