House moves one step closer to passing voter-ID bill

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 3:53pm

Over the objections of Democrats Tuesday, a House committee adopted legislation to require voters to show photo identification.

Republicans argued the new requirement would stop fraud. But Democrats contended it would place an unfair burden on senior citizens and the poor. The Senate already has approved the measure.

“The people across the state want to make sure that we are maintaining the integrity of our ballot box,” the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Debra Maggart, R-Hendersonville, told the House State and Local Government Committee. “We don’t want dead people voting or voter fraud. People have a right to know that their elections are free.”

But Rep. Mike Turner, D-Nashville, called it “a backdoor poll tax,” and Democrats on the committee demanded that Republicans find  a way to pay for photo IDs for those who cannot afford them.

“It does discourage voting,” Rep. Harry Tindell, D-Knoxville, said. “There are over a half million Tennesseans without a driver’s license. That’s a whole lot of people. There are a whole lot of disabled people, poor people, elderly people, the homeless — there are just a whole lot of people who don’t have the luxuries of life that you and I have. We’re all for honest elections. But it’s already illegal to vote in the wrong place or in two places or to vote for the dead.”

The bill exempts nursing home residents, and anyone without a photo ID could cast a provisional ballot to be considered later by election officials.

The Senate has approved the bill three straight years, but it always has failed in the House. This session, it almost certainly will pass the House and become law, with Republicans now in firm control of the legislature. Eight other states require photo IDs for voting. 

20 Comments on this post:

By: RTungsten on 4/5/11 at 3:10

Call me crazy, but I have to show my photo ID each time I vote, mainly because I don't feel the need to carry a voters card with me at all times.

By: govskeptic on 4/5/11 at 5:54

There are not sufficient records for the Democrat-Knoxville to say there are 500,000
voters who don't have driver's license. As to Rep Turner and his "Poll Tax" statement,
he wouldn't know a poll-tax from a poll-cat! Let's get real here, this is a good
government bill that is good for all voter's protection and not Dem. or Repub.!

By: house_of_pain on 4/6/11 at 4:00

I could be wrong, but I thought we were required to carry a photo ID when in public areas.

By: gdiafante on 4/6/11 at 6:09

I carry a picture of Bozo at all times. I'm often mistaken for a politician.

By: budlight on 4/6/11 at 6:14

: house_of_pain on 4/6/11 at 5:00
I could be wrong, but I thought we were required to carry a photo ID when in public areas.

You are correct. In some countries (South America for example), they can stop you for no reason and demand identity papers. It just makes common sense to have your id on you in case of emergency. And I always show my driver license to the voting intake coordinator cause I forget my voter registration card. BUT we also have to show it at the bank, the doctor and many other places. So what's the big deal?

By: slacker on 4/6/11 at 7:24

I wonder if the dead people that still vote, have been grandfathered in?

By: house_of_pain on 4/6/11 at 7:29

lol, slacker. Long time, no post.

By: slacker on 4/6/11 at 7:46

Hi pain. Been in Pensacola Fl. working on my tar ball collection.

By: house_of_pain on 4/6/11 at 8:44

If you haven't heard already, a few of us have started meeting up for coffee on Sundays, at Star Bagel. You're welcome to join in, slacker.

By: slacker on 4/6/11 at 9:32

pain, thanks for the invitation. Murphy rd. near McCabe's?

By: wasaw on 4/6/11 at 9:40

Do you think the Dem's ever stop to hear how foolish they sound? When you talk to Mike Turner, one-on-one, he sounds like a sane man. Once he steps into the state capitol building, and a mic is within reach, he turns into a political imbecile.

The Dems want us all to think that they care about the poor and downtrodden. All they really care about is their vote. Dems will lie, cheat, and steal to keep their political power. The Repub’s had better make all the changes they can because as soon as they fix the leaks, folks will forget how poorly Dem lead and will, unfortunately, put them back in charge.

Can't you all just see Gary Odum now? "How are we ever going to take back the legislature without the dead folks? "

By: gdiafante on 4/6/11 at 10:23

The politicians want us all to think that they care about the poor, downtrodden and middle class. All they really care about is their vote. Both parties will lie, cheat, and steal to keep their political power. The party in power had better make all the changes they can because as soon as they fix the leaks, folks will forget how poorly the previous party lead and will, unfortunately, put them back in charge.

Fixed

By: house_of_pain on 4/6/11 at 10:36

10-4. 11:30ish.

By: house_of_pain on 4/6/11 at 10:37

Agreed, gd.

By: trtay2004 on 4/6/11 at 11:25

I think requiring an ID would deter a lot of fraudulent voting. If you are required to show ID to get government assistance, you should show ID to vote.

By: gdiafante on 4/6/11 at 12:28

I think this is a dog and pony show and precursor to a national ID.

FYI, it's not that hard to get a fake ID. Ask a teenager.

By: grit on 4/6/11 at 1:32

RTungsten: they're checking your SIGNATURE, not your PHOTO.

By: RTungsten on 4/6/11 at 4:35

@grit: Personal signatures never change, do they?

By: Moonglow1 on 4/7/11 at 7:02

Moonglow1: this restriction of voters rights is occurring nation wide. It is a national Tea Party effort to restrict members of the population like the poor & disabled who generally vote for a democrat. And our legislators are following the Tea Party script. So if you want to live in the Tea Party Theo-nut nation then support this move. If not vote against any Theo-nut Tea Party pusher.

By: kene on 4/8/11 at 8:55

Picture IDs are not free. Unless the state is planning to provide any eligible voter with a free photo ID, I don't see how this does not constitute a poll tax.

Also, is there ANY evidence that voter fraud is a significant problem in Tennessee?

Why are they wasting time on this?