NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tennesseans have spoken, and the state constitution will be amended to prohibit slavery and involuntary servitude, even as punishment for a crime.
Voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 3, which will amend the state’s constitution to eliminate an exception to the prohibition of slavery.
According to unofficial election results from the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office, more than 79% of voters chose “YES” on 3.
Proponents of the measure sought to alter the state’s founding document to remove a loophole that allowed involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime. The measure saw virtually no opposition and passed both houses of the Tennessee General Assembly with bipartisan support.
“Tonight is a historic night in Tennessee,” organizers of the “Yes on 3” campaign said in a statement 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 amendment was one of four on the ballot this year, with all four passing.