NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Find up-to-the-minute election results from the November 8 Tennessee general election, both statewide and Middle TN county races, as votes continue to be counted.
Tennessee’s Constitution will be amended in four different ways, including removing a slavery exception, adding a temporary line of succession, enshrining the “right to work” and removing a prohibition on clergy in the legislature. Track the four amendments below.
Amendment 1 deals with the state’s status as a “right to work” state. The state already has a “right to work” law on the books that was passed in 1947, but proponents of the measure sought to strengthen it by adding it to the constitution.
Proponents of the measure, including Gov. Bill Lee and former governor Bill Haslam, said the measure would keep Tennessee competitive economically and protect business’ interests in establishing or expanding in the state.
“We knew there was strong support for worker freedom in our state, but winning 70% of the vote sends the unmistakable message that Tennesseans believe in right-to-work and will fight to prevent Washington from taking it away from us,” said Yes on 1 Executive Committee Member Justin Owen. “Politicians in D.C. should take note to keep their hands off our right-to-work laws.”
Opponents said the measure was an attack on union rights and workers, adding that the measure affects less than 10% of the workforce.
Amendment 2 would create a temporary line of succession for the Tennessee governor. While the constitution contains provisions for a line of succession in the event of the governor’s death, resignation or removal from office, it did not contain protocols for who would run the state if the governor was temporarily incapacitated.
Amendment 3 sought to remove slavery from the Tennessee Constitution. The Yes on 3 campaign behind the public push for the amendment has seen public support from Democrats and Republicans, the clergy, city leaders and business leaders across Tennessee.
Tennessee was one of five states with slavery exceptions on the ballot, joining Alabama, Louisiana, Oregon and Vermont in seeking to strike the language from their constitutions. All but one of the measures passed. Louisiana’s measure failed due to confusing language.
Leaders with the Yes on 3 campaign, which pushed for the amendment’s passage, celebrated the voters’ decision Tuesday night.
“For the first time since 1870, our constitution will no longer protect the institution of slavery. A bipartisan effort years in the making, we could not be more proud of the citizens of Tennessee for agreeing that slavery has no place in our state,” the campaign said.
The Tennessee Constitution technically bars religious leaders from serving in the state legislature, but Amendment 4 changes that.
The prohibition has remained in the constitution despite being ruled unconstitutional in the 1970s by the U.S. Supreme Court and not enforced since then.
The next time Tennesseans will vote on constitutional amendments will be in 2026 when the next gubernatorial election takes place. According to the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office, there is already one amendment that will be considered at that time.