Bill won't allow student IDs for Tennessee voting

Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 2:07pm

The senator who sponsored a measure to let people show student IDs to cast ballots realized it didn't have enough votes to pass, so he instead backed a bill that doesn't allow them to be used.

Murfreesboro Republican Sen. Bill Ketron decided Thursday to concur with the House version that wouldn't allow the student IDs and the full Senate voted 23-7 in support. The measure is now headed to the governor for his consideration.

"We saw the vote over there," said Ketron, referring to the House vote. "That wind came strong, and I knew that's where it was going. Members were agreeing with the House. They were urging me to concur."

Ketron had said including the student IDs issued by state colleges and universities would bring Tennessee into line with an Indiana law that has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. He said he may try again next year to pass that version.

"I think we need to leave the door open," he said.

Nevertheless, Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey later told reporters that he's talked to the state's attorney general who believes the legislation that passed is defensible.

"He was here today and we asked him about this in particular," said the Blountville Republican. "The bottom line is that all of us to begin with did not want student IDs included, we simply did it because it helped our case in court if it even got challenged again. But after talking to the attorney general and the assistant attorney general, they thought they could defend it, so that's the reason we went with the House bill."

The version that passed Thursday would eliminate library cards as valid voter ID.

The city of Memphis and two residents sued the state last year after election officials refused to accept a city-issued library card with a photo as voter identification.

The Tennessee Court of Appeals has upheld the state voter ID law as constitutional but also allowed Memphis residents to use the library card as identification to vote. The Supreme Court said last year that the library card could be used while the court was considering the case.

That case is still pending before the state's highest court.

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle of Memphis tried unsuccessfully earlier this session to amend Ketron's bill to allow counties to decide if their libraries can be used to obtain photo identification to vote.

He said not allowing students to use their IDs to vote is an "absolute shame."

"Every citizen has to have met the qualifications to register to vote, and to have registered to vote," Kyle said. "All the photo ID does is validate that you are the person who registered to vote."


16 Comments on this post:

By: pswindle on 4/4/13 at 5:10

Why in the hell not?

By: ancienthighway on 4/4/13 at 5:30

Because universities are nothing but communist hotbeds. Well, more liberal than the GA and the ridgerunners, so they would be votes against them. It makes the students work harder to get registered.

By: Ask01 on 4/4/13 at 11:47

What a fine, upstanding, stick to your principles politician Senator Ketron has become.

The winds of party opinion are blowing contrary to what he believes so the obvious answer for this medical marvel with no backbone is to bend for his party.

I hope the students in Murfreesboro are taking note. Not only of the sudden reversal of opinion, which denotes a certain lack of integrity, but of the contempt he and the GOP have for them in general.

Hopefully, they will all obtain appropriate ID and toss Mr. Ketron out in the street with the rest of the refuse.

By: Ask01 on 4/4/13 at 11:52

I forgot to toss out the obligatory comment recognizing Senator Ketron and the Republican Party fear that students who think outside the narrow confines of party dogma cannot be trusted to vote the approved GOP way.

Seems like a failed political party in a Central European country used the same tactics to sieze power in thw 1930's.

By: govskeptic on 4/5/13 at 5:16

While not endorsing all the GOP hate as often expressed by Ask01, did I mention
often, but Sen. Ketron has been an over eager beaver this session on useless
legislation on many fronts. This bill was only a patronizing one with no chance
from the beginning to solicit votes from the younger voters in his next race. His
adding Sunday and Holiday sales for liquor stores amendment to the wine in
grocery stores was to appease the Liquor Wholesalers and wreck what started
out as a good bill.
The bills the media has concentrated on this entire sessions are turning out to
go no where thus far not because of the critical media hype, but to cover up
any coverage of what we will be hit with at the end of the session that has
received no or little attention at all. Be prepared.

By: Libertine on 4/5/13 at 7:18

If Democrats will allow student IDs to be used to buy handguns, assault weapons, ammo and alcohol, I have no problem accepting a student ID at the polls.

By: budlight on 4/5/13 at 8:34

Good point Libertine. Yes, let's use student ID's to buy handguns, assault weapons, ammo and alcohol. And to go to the doctor. I have to present my driver's license to be registered with a new doctor.

By: Ask01 on 4/6/13 at 7:06

govskeptic, I am very harsh in my assessment and subsequent criticism of the Republican Party.

Absolutely no denial on my part. The reason for the negative attitude is based on my perception many of their goals and actions to realize those goals echo the paths taken by past totalitarian and theocratic regimes.

Many GOP supporters characterize Democrats as communists who seek to install a central government, often resorting to immature name calling and, as witnessed here on this board, juvenile school yard taunts.

The Republican extremists are behaving like facists, however. Their mania for twisting voting districts like a pretzel, along with attempts to limit the voting pool, ensuring only the "right" people vote, are tell tale signs.

So yes, I do have a problem with the GOP.

The saddest part is, I was once one of them. An avowed and dedicated Republican and very anti Democrat. They, Democrats, were in my opinion synonomous with evil communists, wanting to take my money to give to sluggards and layabouts who wouldn't work while my taxes supported them.

Then, I found myself unemployed through no fault of my own. This because of an economic crisis fueled partially by unbridled corporate greed, aided and abetted by a Republican administration who miscalculated the conduct of two semi necessary, but botched, poorly managed wars.

Suddenly, after years of card carrying loyalty, I was shunned by those still employed, probably because they fear the stigma of joblessness would afflict them. The real reason was, I suppose, they feared having to cough up support while one of their own was seeking employment.

To cut to the bottom line, a favorite of Republicans, I have a new job now. I am doing well and moving up the company hierarchy. I have retained, however, the disgust I developed for the Compassionate Conservatives in the Republican Party. The recent antics of the GOP in states they control, particularly Tennessee with voting, and North Carolina where a Republican group has advanced a resolution for the state to declare an official religion, represent an unhealthy affinity for, and similarity to totalitarian and theocratic regimes.

Sorry for the rant. I must get my meds refilled today. However, I still think the Far Right Wing Nut, Compassionate Conservatives of the Republican Party are more dangerous than anything I have seen from moderate Democrats and will continue to lambast them at any opportunity.

By: pswindle on 4/6/13 at 3:49

What eighteen century did Ketron crawl out of? I want to know where these nuts have come from. Do they think that we want to live under their rule? They have to be voted out of office and that means Haslam, too. When the people of TN find out how their rights have been taken away, they may wake up. I have a college age student and by-damn if they want to vote, they should have the right to do so. If a college-ID is not good, then what would be good. They live by this ID. Don't give me crap about stealing IDs. How often does this happen?

By: Ask01 on 4/6/13 at 5:21

Well said, pswindle.

The last election, I voted by presenting my DD Form 2. Just in case that wasn't good enough, I had my US Passport at the ready.

I was actually hoping for a confrontation, with some poll worker telling me my Federally issued identification wasn't sufficient.

I hope your college age student is actively campaignig against anyone currently in office. If the college students ever realize the power they could exercise by uniting, sitting politicians could be in trouble.

By: Libertine on 4/7/13 at 6:44

Seriously, if we make college IDs acceptable to vote with are you guys cools with making college IDs acceptable to buy handguns, assault weapons, ammo and alcohol?

By: pswindle on 4/7/13 at 9:34

If a back-ground check is done. But most college-age kids could not afford to buy guns and etc.

By: joe41 on 4/7/13 at 9:59

I am ashamed that we have such a backward state legislature. And I vote Republican at least half of the time.

By: Ask01 on 4/7/13 at 11:15

A point, if I may.

Upon turning 18, an American citizen is considered an adult.

Their parents are no longer responsible for them. They can vote, join the military, enter into a contract, and are pretty much at the mercy of the world.

Yet with all this, they cannot buy alcohol.

I propose we either return the drinking age to 18 or revoke their right to vote, enter contracts or join the military, and make their parents responsible for them unti they reach 21.

Seems only fair to me.

By: Libertine on 4/8/13 at 4:32

I agree Ask, but why not until the age of 26? President Obama thinks that I should provide health care for the 25 year old adult children of my employees.

By: Ask01 on 4/10/13 at 4:14

Unless that "child" is mentally impaired, parents should not be responsible any mandatory support once they graduate high school, or college if they live at home. That can even be a bit of a stretch, but to help students with education, I'm willing to fudge a little. But only a little.