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Tennesseans required to show photo ID for voting effective 2012

Governor Bill Haslam recently signed new legislation effective January 1, 2012, that will require Tennessee voters to present government-issued photo identification when voting. The March 2012 presidential primary will be the first election in which this new law will be enforced.
Voters will need to present one of the following forms of identification at their voting location: a Tennessee driver's license with photo, a United States passport, a photo identification that was issued by either Tennessee state or the federal government, a military photo identification card or a Tennessee photo identification gun permit. Voters may not present a student college photo identification card. For those voters who arrive to vote and do not have any of the above forms of identification with them, they may vote with a provisional ballot. The voter then has two days to return to their local election commission office and provide a valid form of identification.
Absentee voters, those who live in nursing homes or assisted living centers, those voters who are hospitalized, voters with a religious objection to being photographed, and voters who are financially unable to provide the funds necessary to obtain a photographic identification from one of the above sources are exempt from the new legislative changes.
Johnson County's state representative, Scotty Campbell, voted against the legislation. While proponents of the new legislation believe it will help reduce voter fraud, there are those who believe it will hinder both the indigent and physically disabled from casting their votes. “I voted against this legislation because local people told me to go to Nashville and make their lives easier, not more complicated,” said Campbell in an email communication with the The Tomahawk. “People want less government involvement in their lives, not more. They wanted less rules, regulations, and restrictions. It breaks my heart that an elderly woman may walk in with the help of her walker to vote where she has voted for years and not be able to vote as she has for years. She could even have her Medicare card, Social Security card, driver's license without a photo, a property deed, and a car title and be told she can't vote without signing a paper saying that she is poor. That is a slap in the face to veterans and everyone that is a Tennessean.” Campbell continued, “Some people say that this legislation would prevent illegal immigrants from voting. I have never seen an illegal immigrant spend their time going into a voting booth. There is a legal way to immigrate and although the process is complicated, anyone wanting to be an American should go through the proper channels.”
For more information on how to obtain a photo identification card, contact Tennessee's Department of Safety. You may also contact Johnson County's election commission office at 158 Election Avenue, Mountain City. They may be reached at 423-727-8592. More information can also be found online at www.tn.gov/sos/election/index.htm.