Monday, September 26, 2011

Maybe You Can Vote, Maybe Not

Certain Tennesseans will have a tougher time voting next year, thanks to a Big Government push from state Republicans (and their out-of-state lobbyists like ALEC).

Via Knox Views, State Senator Roy Herron writes that his mother is one person among many who will have to pay to get the ID the state now demands, but only half the state's counties provide a way to get the necessary ID:

Only 43 of Tennessee’s 95 counties have such centers. Half the counties in West Tennessee, and two-thirds of the counties in my state Senate district, don’t have them. Some of the rural Tennesseans I represent will have to drive from their county through a second county and into a third to reach the closest driver’s license center — a trip of 40 to 60 miles each way. Taking a day off work and with gas averaging $3.58 a gallon, even at minimum wage the expense of travel and lost wages will cost people perhaps an additional $80 to $100 to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

This cost of this process—in many cases totaling $110 to $135, if not more — is such a burden that for many voters it will amount to disenfranchisement.

My Republican colleagues claim this legislation is necessary to prevent voter fraud, citing a state Senate election in Memphis in 2005 in which votes were recorded from two deceased people. But the fact is that the culprits in that case were dishonest election workers, not voters. Photo ID cards would not solve that problem."

Here's a map of state locations to get a new voter ID.

It seems clear the simplest way to create a photo ID for voters would have been to alter the current voter registration card issued by counties to include a photo. That would cost money - so rather than the state fund it, you now have to pay for the changes. (Either way, residents are paying). Even better, require each county's election office to verify applicants who want to register to vote (which they already do).

There is no proof voting fraud is widespread. Supporters of the new ID say that lack of proof is itself suspicious. The end result of this change seems clear - many voters, already discouraged in participating in voting, have now another reason to sit out the next election.

Sen. Ron Ramsey says he'll give anyone who needs a ride to a photo ID location, if they call and ask for a ride. So, see, your elected officials will help you if you ask for help and, in their opinion, deserve it. Thanks soooooo much.


  1. I'm trying to find out how and if this impacts absentee voters -- my daughter attends college out-of-state. Maybe they want to have her webcast her vote?

  2. the law says these new rules do not apply to absentee voting! no word on taking votes via webcasts .. yet!! :)

    a link to the state's description of voting absentee is: