After two years of defending moves to require voters flash certain photo identification to cast a ballot at the polls, Sen. Bill Ketron is begging off his ban on college students using their university IDs.
Senate Bill 125 would add college student IDs from state schools to the list of identification poll workers will accept on election days, although Ketron fought hard against adding those student IDs over the last two years.
“We allowed the use of photo identification of faculty members of our state colleges and universities under the original Tennessee law which passed in 2011,” Ketron said in a press release Monday. “We believe that this state issued ID has worked as a sufficient form of identification and that students should also be included.”
The legislation is also aimed to clearly prohibit using photo identification produced by local municipalities for voting purposes, which would include the Memphis Library that produced photo IDs prior to last year’s primary election.
In the fall, the Tennessee Court of Appeals directed the state to tell poll workers to accept Memphis Library-issued photo ID cards, although the state appealed the decision to the Supreme Court arguing the library is run by the city and is not a state entity. The state’s high court heard arguments on the new law early last month.
“We considered locally issued cards when debating the original bill, but after reviewing the process, decided that the safeguards were not in place to ensure the integrity of the ballot like state and federally issued identification,” said Ketron.