The Tennessee House of Representatives approved a bill Thursday that would require voters to show a photo ID at the polls. The passage came despite a state Attorney General’s opinion that the measure would likely be ruled a “poll tax” by a court
The state attorney general’s opinion released this week that says the courts are likely to find the bill unconstitutional if it costs something in order to qualify to vote. Such “poll taxes” were used in the Reconstruction South to deny the vote to former slaves.
Republican Steve McDaniel of Parkers Crossroads says the strict requirement for a photo ID could hamper people in his rural district.
“The average voter in the district that I represent in order to get a photo ID as is required in this legislation, one would have to drive an average of 30 miles.”
Five Republicans joined Democrats to vote against the measure, though it passed 57 to 35. McDaniel, who abstained, says the question isn’t partisan but geographic.