State Senator Pushing For Voter Photo ID Law - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

State Senator Pushing For Voter Photo ID Law


by Chris Cannon

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - State Senator Bill Ketron plans on introducing a bill in the Tennessee General Assembly next session that would require voters to provide a photo identification before they cast their ballot.  But the proposed law has its critics.

The lawmaker from Murfreesboro has three times put Senate Bill 150 up for a vote because he feels so strongly about photo ID's.

"Being able to identify that picture, it just means so much to me. But they keep killing it in the house. So I am going to continue to bring it back this year," according to Senator Ketron.

Currently, Tennessee voters only have to provide a county identification card before they cast their ballot.

"But it really doesn't verify, is that you? I could have someone else sign my name and nobody even checks that," the Senator said.

Eight out of the fifty states require voters to bring a photo ID with them to the polling place.  In 2006, the Missouri State Supreme Court shot down a proposed voter photo ID law in that state.

Critics argue a photo ID law will keep some people from voting.

"Any additional restriction is a burden," according to Walter Searcy, who handles legal redress for the Tennessee NAACP.

Searcy said there is a legitimate group of voters who simply do not have photo identification.  He feels this proposed law is an overreaction to a non-issue.

"I hear the clap trap about, well we have all these illegal voters.  That is simply not the case, statistics don't support that.  Just a straw man and it doesn't reflect the true reality of what's going on," Searcy said.

Senator Ketron would argue his bill does make provisions for people who do not have photo ID, or for religious reason cannot be photographed.

"Then all you do is fill out an affidavit of identification saying this is who you are and match that up with a signature," the Senator explained.

The proposed bill does allow for several different forms of photo identification; everything from a drivers license, to a passport, even a work employee card.

The bill also exempts persons living in nursing homes.  And if you forget you photo ID when you go to vote, you have until the second business day after the election to provide evidence of the proper identification.

Senator Ketron will bring up this bill again with the Tennessee General Assembly convenes in January.


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