Ramsey disputes claims photo ID law will disenfranchise voters

Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 3:49pm

A scoffing Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey dismissed claims that the state’s new photo ID law will disenfranchise voters and pledged to personally help anyone — even Democrats — obtain the proper identification if need be.

“All that’s just hypothetical,” Ramsey said of Democratic contentions that tens of thousands of the poor and elderly will be turned away at the polls in next year’s elections when photo ID is required.

Would-be voters without acceptable government-issued photo ID reportedly have waited three or four hours for the free identification cards now offered at state driver service centers.  But Ramsey said he is skeptical that many people have waited so long.

“I feel confident that if someone would call and let us know that they are going to have to stand in line for three hours, we’ll make sure that they get a photo ID,” Ramsey told reporters. “So when you hear about one of those cases, please call my office … and we’ll go pick them up and take them.”

Asked whether he really wanted to publicize such a promise, Ramsey laughed, saying, “Oh absolutely. Tell them to call us. We’ll work something out.”

What about Democrats? he was asked.

“Tell them to call us.”

This week, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin came to Nashville and accused Tennessee Republicans of working in cahoots with the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council to try to deny Democrats the right to vote through the photo ID law. Ramsey called that charge “absolutely ridiculous.”

“I can honestly say I’ve not talked to one Republican or anybody who stands for a Republican outside of the state of Tennessee that’s said this would be a good idea. This is something we’ve tried to advance in the Republican caucus of Tennessee for six or eight years.”

Republicans contend the law is needed to combat voter fraud. Yet state Elections Coordinator Mark Goins can name only one confirmed case of voter impersonation in Tennessee.

Asked about that, Ramsey recalled the 2005 special election that sent Ophelia Ford to the state Senate.

“There were at least four dead people who voted in that election.

Obviously, somebody impersonated them.”

“All we’re trying to do is make sure we’re following the law and that people who vote are who they say they are and are legally supposed to be voting,” he said. 

30 Comments on this post:

By: pswindle on 9/15/11 at 2:35

Of course, he wants to pick and choose who votes. Ramsey is a disgrace to TN.

By: yogiman on 9/15/11 at 5:24

Has our State government taken us back into the old "Poll Tax" voting method? Don't misunderstand; I believe a photo ID should be applied today with candidates getting people to come out of their graves to vote for them and bring in teams from 'where ever' to vote for them. We need to know those voting are doing it legal.

According to an article I read in my local paper it stipulated the forms the voters had to furnish as their photo IDs. It stipulated a Tennessee driver's license with a photo, a U.S. passport (if you are over 60 years old the government will place your picture on it free of charge), a department of safety photo identification, U.S. military photo identifications, a state-issued handgun handgun carry permit or any other photo identification issued by the federal or state governments, except college IDs.

The law further stipulates exceptions of those whom do not need photo IDs. They included absentee voters, residents of nursing homes or assisted living centers who vote at the facility, people who are hospitalized, people who have religious objections to being photographed and those who are indigent and unable to pay for photo IDs.

Those laws look good, but how do they really apply? Apparently, you must prove you are financially unable to provide your photo ID to have one furnished free. If you make that attempt, who decides if it is justifiable; the government clerk?

By: Xemo on 9/15/11 at 6:29

Yes and we are discriminating against people who want to cash a check, buy liquor, get on a plane, drive a car, blah, blah, blah...

By: yogiman on 9/15/11 at 7:11


Our nation today isn't near like it was 50 years ago. Tell me, if you owned a bank, of market, and someone came in and [let's say... after normal hours] and said they needed to cash a check and presented one for ??? $500? Would you happily cash it if you didn't know them, knowing the check was good?

Didn't think so.

By: yogiman on 9/15/11 at 7:18

For you younguns that ain't familiar with a Poll Tax; it goes back into the old Jim Crow days when you had to pay a tax to be able to vote in an election.
In those days many people simply didn't have the money to be able to pay to vote. It was simply a way to control the vote.

The career politicians of today would also like to control the votes.

By: marymancini on 9/16/11 at 6:05

To correct what has become a throwaway line - dead people didn't vote in Memphis. Election officials working the polls voted in the names of dead people who were still listed on the roll. The workers were caught and punished - jail time and a fine. The system worked.

A solution to this problem would be to have a more efficient process for updating voter rolls.

By: TNCitizen on 9/16/11 at 6:23

For anyone who wants to take Lt. Gov. Ramsey up on his offer, his office phone number is 741-4524.

By: TNCitizen on 9/16/11 at 6:35

And requiring photo ID would not have prevented the "dead-people-voting" problem in Memphis.

By: Redbarron06 on 9/16/11 at 6:41

If you have enough money to have a computer and post a comment on this page, you have enough to go and get a photo ID.

By: concretemike on 9/16/11 at 6:47

yogiman on 9/15/11 at 8:18

For you younguns that ain't familiar with a Poll Tax; it goes back into the old Jim Crow days when you had to pay a tax to be able to vote in an election.
In those days many people simply didn't have the money to be able to pay to vote. It was simply a way to control the vote.

The career politicians of today would also like to control the votes.

But the photo I.D. is free so then it isn't like a Poll Tax in fact it is nothing like it. Stop repeating what you hear on television like it is the gospel. So you have to stand in line to get a FREE photo I.D. for a while. A few years ago when Tennessee was handing out an I.D. to every ILLEGAL ALIEN in the country I didn't hear the Dumbocrats complaining!

By: concretemike on 9/16/11 at 6:48

TNCitizen on 9/16/11 at 7:23

For anyone who wants to take Lt. Gov. Ramsey up on his offer, his office phone number is 741-4524.

I bet his phone line is burning up....YES THAT IS SARCASM!

By: govskeptic on 9/16/11 at 6:50

Is this story really worth anymore space within the news. This worthwhile
legislation has been passed and is now law. Let's get all those registered
voters without the photos and who wish to vote taken care of. Those that
like to vote without anyone really knowing who they are (or) whether they are
actually dead and still receiving social security checks at their homes can
just sit the next election out at home incognito!

By: marymancini on 9/16/11 at 7:09

Seniors who have been voting for years w/out a photo ID are now required to have one. Many seniors do not drive - they rely on public transportation & will need to take public transportation to get to the DMV to get their new photo ID. Nashville is fourth worst for seniors accessing public transportation. And we haven't even discussed seniors living in rural areas of TN where the nearest DMV is two counties away.

Nashville fourth worst for seniors accessing mass transit

Another thing to consider: In Tennessee, if you are over 60 state law says you can choose to get your drivers license renewed without a picture. Many have chosen this option and will now need to go back to the DMV that is two counties away and get a new license made with a photo on it.

By: Redbarron06 on 9/16/11 at 7:21


The IDs are not free, the Obamafairy don't just show up with them. People are getting paid to make them, people are getting paid to make and ship the materials to produce them. People are getting paid for the hardware and software used to make them The people that are paying for them are the people that have jobs and are paying taxes. I'm one of them.

The folks that qualify for getting them at no cost are now complaining about having to spend a little time to go and get them. Come on, are you so lazy that won't go and that is free too you and you want it delivered?

By: skeptic1 on 9/16/11 at 7:35

The Tennessee Photo ID law relates to compliance with the federal REAL ID Act. If you were elderly and needed a photo ID to collect your monthly check, your SNAP, or your Kroger senior discount, you would find a way to get a photo ID. Stop your whining! They didn't say that only Caucasians could vote. If you can't prove who you are and that you are a citizen, then voting is the least of your problems! You are lucky that the right to vote isn't based on an IQ test, your high school GPA, or the ACT.

By: cookeville on 9/16/11 at 8:28

I'm 66, I have voted each election for forever; My name is on the voting list. I have an senior citizen drivers license which, by law, does not require a photo for those over 60, as has been stated. This license is one year old. Now I have to go to the license center in Cookeville and sit for hours on end just to get my photo because THE PHOTO ON THE OLD LICENSE IS NO LONGER VALID EVEN THOUGH ANY IDIOT CAN SEE IT'S ME! Cookeville's center covers at least four counties, so there is hardly a parking space to be had no matter which day one goes there. So I AM angry-not because I have to do it, but because Mr. Ramsey, if he has ever had to do the same, most likely goes to the head of the line because he's 'somebody'. He's 'somebody' all right, but I won't say what kind of 'somebody' he is. I do hope his phone line stays jammed up with calls for the forseeable future.

By: cookeville on 9/16/11 at 8:31

Oh, I have to make one more comment. We are trading our freedoms for security. We will find, sooner rather than later, that we have neither. When one has to have a identity card of any kind to partake of constitutional freedoms, then those freedoms are no longer free. Think about it.

By: Redbarron06 on 9/16/11 at 10:07

@ Cookville,

Really you think this is a loss of freedom? You are inconvienced by having to go and get a card with you picture on it to pratice a freedom that is assured to you in the Constitution that somebody else is paying for, and you are bitching about it.

Trying using your 2nd Ammendment rights. You pay an extra dime for each box of ammo you buy, you pay a $25 fee to buy or transfer a gun, an item that the Constitution of the US guarentees you the right to own and you have to pay a special fee just to get it from the store. This does not even include the special $200 tax I have to pay just because I want a certain type of weapon. I have to be fingerprinted to buy a gun, a govt back ground check to get it, and then in the state of TN I have to take a class and pay an additional $125 just to carry an item around with me that I am guarenteed by the Constitution to have.

How about we apply the same restreictions and fees on the rest of the Bill of rights as we do to the 2nd Ammendment. Then you would have something to bitch about. go sit you ass in line and get the ID card I am paying for, I aint gonna deliver it. if you dont want it fine, don't complain when they turn you away from the polls.

By the way, would you be so kind as to point out where in the US Constitution you get the RIGHT to vote? I'll give you a little hint, its not there.

By: yogiman on 9/16/11 at 10:32

Well stated, Redbarron.

The Constitution should be a mandatory class in our educational system. But today, very few people can even tell you the basic subject of the book.

And I include "congress" in that regard. They should be knowledgeable to the Constitution. They apparently don't know what natural born citizen means.

By: GUARDIAN on 9/16/11 at 11:08

GUARDIAN-The only people who don't want photo ID's are the ones that want illegals to vote and those who want to vote more than once or want criminals who aren't suppose to vote. Tell whatever lie you want but that is the reason you don't want photo ID's.

By: cityjvtao on 9/16/11 at 11:36

Worry not my friends. When Obama is re-elected, and he will be - voters across the county will tire of the obstructionist do-nothing politics of the right, the tea party will fade into oblivion and those who know how to govern will be put back in office to correct our course toward progress equality for all. And it will be those republicans like Rick Perry and Michelle Bachman with their anti-intellectual, anti-science flat earth ideologies that finally convince independent voters that the right-wing goal to make the rich richer at the expense of the middle class is not in their best interest after all. Then we can correct these restrictive voter laws and again open our borders and hearts to our southern neighbors. The earth is not flat no matter how hard you wish it were!

By: judyboodo@yahoo.com on 9/16/11 at 11:52

And that ladies and gentlemen, is why there is a Tea Party!

By: marymancini on 9/16/11 at 12:14

"By the way, would you be so kind as to point out where in the US Constitution you get the RIGHT to vote? I'll give you a little hint, its not there."

Some of us get it in the 15th & 19th amendments. Sweet! Interesting language they use as well: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied..."

By: Redbarron06 on 9/16/11 at 12:27


And where it is being denied? And please read the rest of the ammendment.
"based on that citizen's "race, color, or previous condition of servitude" not the case in this argument.

"or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex" again not the case in this argument.

It says nothing at all about it being denied because they can not prove that they are a legal citizen of the district they are voting in.

It does not even say that a tax can not be inposed to vote in those 2 ammendments. Clearly it is legal to tax the rights of the Constitution. We have tax on firearms and ammo, you have to get a permit in many places to hold rallies and political events.

Futhermore the rights contained in the Constitution are not entitlements as many of the left want to claim. You have the freedom of the press but nobody has to buy you a news paper, radion or TV. You have a right to your religion but nobody has to provide you with a bible, koran, or other religions media. You have the right to keep and bear arms but nobody has to provide you with one or the ammo to use it.

The founders knew that if a right or anything other things for that matter is viewed as an entitlement then sombody has to provide it and that enslaves the provider to the reciever. What we have today is a entire nation of providers and workers that are being enlsaved to those that only recieve.

By: modern4life on 9/16/11 at 12:34

My mother is over 90. Still gets around, but to ask her to navigate the DMV is a death threat. There are other ID options which we are exploring, but without my help, she would give up on voting because the hurdle is physically too high for her, yet she is smart enough to know who she wants to vote for.

By: marymancini on 9/16/11 at 12:48

Red, I wasn't applying the 15th & 19th amendments to any argument other than the one you were making about the right to vote being in the constitution.

And rights are entitlements if you look at them through another lens. Leaving interpretation of the different amendments aside, the rights bestowed protect the freedoms you have. In other words, no one can prevent you from publishing a newspaper, practicing your religion, etc.

Enjoy your weekend.

By: yogiman on 9/16/11 at 1:14

And apparently the Constitution doesn't deny congress their wish to place a illegal candidate to be placed in the highest office of our nation by false vote.

By: Redbarron06 on 9/16/11 at 1:32


No the Constitution does not prevent me from publishing those items however it also does not entitle me to the needs rescources to do it. However if you want to publish a paper you have to have a buisness to do so.

And if we really get down to the nuts and bolts of it, the Bill of Rights were not meant to be enforced by the federal govt at the state level. Until incorporation after the civil war, the Bill of rights was applied to nothing but the Federal Govt. A state could set the standard that you had to be a certain religion to hold office. In fact in many states this was the case and it even went to the Supreme Court and the Bill of Rights was confirmed to be limited to the Federal and not the state and local govts. This was also voiced in a letter from Thomas Jefferson one of the key people in writing the Constitution and the Bill of rights.

Again this law does not violate in any way a persons ability to vote, there are even provisions for those that do not have photo ID to get them at no charge, but they are going to have to make those steps. Everybody that is a legal citizen of the state still has the right to vote but there is no free ride to the polls at tax payers expense and when they get there we have certain standards that must be met to prove that you are a legal voter.

Thank you for the weekend wishes, I hope your goes well too.

By: pswindle on 9/18/11 at 10:10

When is Ramsey's term up? We need a rest from him.

By: Bellecat on 9/20/11 at 3:17

Please, please send Ramsey home. Sooo sick of him.