Civil rights attorneys in Nashville and Washington, D.C., appear to be laying the groundwork for legal challenges to Tennessee’s new voter identification law. A top official says the U.S. Department of Justice is reviewing recent laws that require voters to show photo identification at the polls, and Nashville attorneys are putting together a lawsuit that could challenge the law unless legislators reconsider when they convene Jan. 10.
But the state’s top election official and the law’s main backer in the legislature say they do not expect any changes to the measure. They say they are more worried that the lawsuits will confuse voters about the status of the law, which officially went into effect Sunday and will be noticed the first time by most Tennesseans when they go to the polls in March to vote in the Republican presidential primary.
“Going into this, we knew there were going to be distractions,” Mark Goins, the state’s coordinator of elections, said of the lawsuits. “We fully anticipate that voters will be required to show photo ID when they go to vote. … It is the law until the legislature says it’s not the law or a court says it’s not going to be the law.”
Supporters and opponents of the state’s new voter ID requirement are positioning themselves in the wake of a decision by the Justice Department to reject a similar law passed in South Carolina. The rejection, announced in a Dec. 23 letter to election officials in that state, follows a string of statements by senior federal officials questioning whether the new voting requirements are meant to combat fraud or to discourage groups that typically lean Democratic from voting.
Meanwhile, opponents in Tennessee are wrapping up a petition drive that calls on state lawmakers to repeal the voter ID law. If lawmakers do not, some opponents are planning to take the matter to the courts.
Full Article: TN voter ID law may face court fight | wbir.com.