Voters may no longer use photo identification issued by other states as acceptable forms of identification when voting in person. This change mirrors similar laws in other states, including Indiana. Indiana’s photo ID law has been upheld by the United States Supreme Court. The General Assembly amended Tennessee’s voter photo ID law during its recently concluded legislative session.
Articles about voting issues in Tennessee.
With a near party line vote of 23-7 in the Senate Thursday, all that remains to block state-funded college IDs as valid identification for voting in Tennessee is the governor’s signature. With no explanation, Senate Bill 125 sponsor Bill Ketron rose and simply said he would “move to concur” with House Bill 229 as amended. The Republican senator from Murfreesboro noted that one of the amendments from the House “retains the present law prohibition on the use of student identification card to veria person’s identity.” The other corrected a typographical error. This was in stark contrast to a statement Ketron issued the previous week: “We will continue to push to allow state-issued student identification to remain in the bill as passed by the Senate, even if we have to go to a conference committee.”
Hamilton County election officials said the current voting machines are worn out and a new system needs to be in place by the next major election in May 2014. Charlotte Mullis-Morgan, election administrator, said, “We prayed our way through the November and March elections.” She said the new machines may cost in the range of $1 million. She said there are federal funds available to cover the cost. When the election office purchased the current machines in 1998, they were in advance of a number of other election offices on the new-type machines. The cost was covered by county taxpayers. When federal funds later became available to buy voting machines, the county applied for retroactive funds but did not get them.
Students at public universities still won’t be able to use their school-issued ID to vote after the state Senate on Thursday voted to remove a provision allowing their use from a new voter identification bill. By agreeing 23-7 with an identical version of the bill passed in the state House, senators sent the legislation, which now allows faculty and graduate assistants to use their college-issued ID to cast a ballot and bans voters from using state-issued library cards, to Gov. Bill Haslam for approval.
Lawmakers in the Tennessee House of Representatives dropped a proposal to let college students use their campus identification cards at the polls. The House Local Government Committee amended a bill Tuesday to strip out language that would have let students at public colleges and universities in Tennessee show their IDs to vote. The decision put the House at odds with the Senate, which agreed to accept college IDs at the polls just last week. State Rep. Susan Lynn, the measure’s sponsor, said she agreed to the amendment after consulting with committee members and the co-sponsor, state Sen. Bill Ketron.
The state Senate approved Thursday a bill that will make college student identification cards valid for voting despite Sen. Stacey Campfield’s contention that lawmakers were “gutting” protections against voter fraud. The bill by Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron was approved on a 21-8 vote and now goes to the House, where it faces a committee vote. Besides legalizing college student IDs for voting, the bill also prohibits use of library cards issued by the city of Memphis. The state Court of Appeals has ruled the Memphis cards are valid for voting and the state Supreme Court is considering an appeal of that decision, though it issued a temporary order last fall allowing the cards to be used in the November 2012, election. The eight no votes on the bill, SB125, included Campfield, R-Knoxville, and four other Republicans who objected to the college ID provision and three Democrats who objected to the Memphis library card prohibition. Ketron said the bill includes both provisions to imitate, as closely as practical, the voter ID law of Indiana, which has been upheld as valid in a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
On Thursday, residents of this city — and some nonresidents who are registered owners of real estate — will vote on whether or not liquor by the drink will be allowed to stay. The campaign signs for and against the measure say much about the divisiveness of the issue here. Anyone who came to the Election Commission office to early-vote could not have missed the two large green signs that say “Vote FOR Alcohol Tax Revenue For Our Schools.” They would also have noticed a line of smaller signs in between the two larger ones. The smaller ones are white with black lettering. Some say “Vote NO for real liquor control.” Others say “Our Kids Are Not For Sale.” If you favor liquor by the drink, you may see the two larger signs as symbolizing a tidal wave of progress, which — according to that view — needs to sweep over isolated pockets of a last-century attitude that the smaller signs represent. Or, if you oppose the liquor proposal, you might view the smaller signs as symbolic of native guerrilla fighters, defying a well-funded mercenary invasion that is symbolized by the larger signs, and already has a foot in the door.
Tennessee: Nashville election commission could rescind vote seeking foreign-born voter review | The Tennessean
The Davidson County Election Commission is expected to reconsider a controversial vote that one member said would call for “profiling” foreign-born voters. The commission voted 3-2 on Feb. 21 to ask the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security to review the citizenship status of recently registered voters who were born outside the United States. But Metro attorneys later said doing so would violate the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the National Voter Registration Act — also known as the “motor voter law” — by creating two different classes of voters and scrutinizing one class more than the other. Steve Abernathy, the Republican election commissioner who proposed the move, said he wanted to see whether non-citizens, while living here legally, have been improperly registering to vote during the process of applying for driver’s licenses. “The process at the Department of Safety is not set up to prevent them from completing a voter registration card,” Abernathy said. “And then (state officials) send that information to the election commission, but all we get is the completed card. We don’t get the backup information. There’s no way to verify a person’s citizenship at the Davidson County Election Commission.”
At one point during the Wednesday, Feb. 20, meeting of the Shelby County Election Commission, chairman Robert Meyers interrupted a detailed and lengthy lecture by election commissioner George Monger by saying, “I object to the leading question.” It drew the only laughs during the three-hour session that marked the end of election administrator Richard Holden’s probationary period. Monger made public records requests to assemble a chain of emails between Holden and his staff as they tracked down the source of problems in the November elections. The particular problem Monger tracked involved voters in one split city-county precinct being given the wrong ballots because their addresses were listed incorrectly as in the county outside Memphis when they were in the city of Memphis. Monger’s specific point was that Holden instructed the staff to delete a report in its summary to election commissioners.
Tennessee: Sevier County’s voting machines to stay in place for liquor measure | Knoxville News Sentinel
Same issue. Same voting machines. For the second time, the Sevier County Election Commission has effectively decided to retain the current voting machines for a March 14 re-vote on the question of offering liquor by the drink in Pigeon Forge. Commissioner John Huff said Thursday he favors keeping the machines for two reasons. “The people who vote are already familiar with them, and our poll workers are familiar with them,” he said. The March 14 vote was set after a judge voided a Nov. 6 due to ballot errors. Huff said those errors were because of human error, not because of a problem with the machines.