Books Sandwiched In welcomes Tammy Kaousias
Join Tammy Kaousias for a discussion of Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America by Ari Berman on Wednesday, September 28 at noon in the East Tennessee History Center, 601 South Gay Street.
“Give Us the Ballot brings to life the struggle and increasingly intense backlash against the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Kaousias says. “This struggle is going on right now, and each one of us is a living participant and creator of this historical struggle. One of the unsettling things about the book is how uncertain the outcome is … this history is still unfolding. It may even affect the current Presidential election.”
Kaousias says she never intended to get involved in voting issues. “I thought it was simple. You register and you vote.” But that changed in 2008. “During the presidential election, I agreed to help people register to vote as a way to get involved, thinking, how hard can it be, it’s the right to vote.” she said. This one-day volunteer effort started what she refers to as a “real-life education” in the history of voting rights in this country and the increasingly difficult process to get in a voting booth and vote. Eventually, Kaousias helped organize the 2008 ballot protection effort in Knox County. "This included multiple attorneys available for hotline calls from candidates, poll watchers and voters in order to protect voting access," she said.
Kaousias was appointed to the Knox County Election Commission as an Election Commissioner in the 2013-2015 term. Her legal work includes the area of restoration of rights for those with criminal records and advising candidates on qualification issues, in addition to the areas of real estate and entertainment businesses and ventures. She has served on many boards including the Board of Directors of the Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley, as a founding board member of The Big Ears Festival, and as a founding board member of the Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound.