NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee constitution will have four changes made to it after Volunteer State voters approved four amendments on the ballot this year. 

Tennessee ballots contained four different proposed amendments to the constitution, seeking to alter the state’s stance on slavery, allowing clergy to serve in the legislature, the state’s right-to-work status and the process for a temporary succession of power for the governor. 

By the time the polls closed, all four amendments were trending in favor of passage by at least 63%, though one amendment received nearly 80% support. 

Amendment 1 enshrines the “right to work” in the constitution, further strengthening a 75-year-old law stating the same. 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 unions and the unionized workforce. Additionally, they said less than 10% of the workforce in Tennessee was unionized, meaning the amendment was largely unnecessary and redundant, given the state’s 75-year-old right-to-work law that has never been challenged. 

The other three amendments on the ballot did not have the same controversy surrounding them, as the measures were either considered noncontroversial or received wide bipartisan support. 

Amendment 3 received the largest number of votes for it, garnering 1,292,834 votes in support of removing the slavery exception from the constitution.  

Tennessee was one of five states with slavery exceptions on the ballot, joining Alabama, Louisiana, Oregon and Vermont in seeking to strike it from their constitutions. Louisiana’s measure was the only one that did not pass 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. 

Amendment 2, which outlines a temporary line of succession in the event the governor becomes unable to perform his duties temporarily, passed with slightly less support than Amendment 3. Tennessee voters approved the measure by 74.63%, with 1,175,023 votes for it. 

The amendment with the smallest margin of support was Amendment 4, which struck an outdated prohibition on clergy in the legislature from the constitution. The prohibition was declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1970s and has not been enforced since then but remained in the constitution. 

⏩ Read today’s top stories on wkrn.com

The amendment ultimately passed, though with only 63.24% of the vote with just over 1 million voters in favor. 

The next time Tennesseans will vote on amendments to the constitution is 2026, when the next gubernatorial election will be held.