Voting-rights advocates questioned and pushed for reforms in Tennessee’s photo-ID voting law during a lecture at Middle Tennessee State University Thursday. More than two dozen people packed a small classroom at MTSU for the lecture by Fair Elections Legal Network’s Jon Sherman, who tied the Tennessee law passed in 2011 to a series of other state laws he said are meant to suppress people from casting ballots. The state law requires all voters to provide either a state driver’s license, a state or federally issued photo identification, a military photo ID, a U.S. passport or a Tennessee carry permit to cast their ballots in person. Student identifications and city- and county-issued ID cards are not accepted under the law, according to the Tennessee Secretary of State’s Office.
“Yes, most people have IDs,” Sherman said. “But most people isn’t a democracy.” The Tennessee law, Sherman said, reflects the voter suppression in the civil rights era when some states required literacy tests or others just made casting a ballot too inconvenient for some minorities.
A federal report published in October 2014 found a decline in Tennessee voter turnout at a higher rate than states without a similar law between 2008 and 2012. “If you can’t vote, you can’t protect whatever else you take for granted as a right,” Sherman said.
Full Article: State’s photo-ID law for voters questioned.