Lawsuit Threatened Over Memphis Library Photo ID Card Controversy
(Memphis) Early voting is underway at Bethel Church in Bartlett and other polling places in Shelby County.
An issue not on the ballot, the new Memphis public library ID card and whether it’s a valid form of photo identification for voting, is getting a lot of attention.
Dana Carter was at the polls Monday afternoon to cast his ballot.
He said, “Some places they let you use student ID. What’s the difference between a student ID and library card as long as there is a picture and an individual and it’s signed?”
A student ID however, is not a valid form of photo ID in Tennessee. Click HERE to see what is accepted.
Van Turner is the chairman of the Shelby County Democratic Party.
He says the library ID card controversy could likely end up in court, “We are monitoring that situation closely and if individuals who don’t have any form of state and federal issued ID except for the library card (can’t vote), we will be looking into a lawsuit on their behalf.”
Voters without a proper ID will be offered a provisional ballot.
The state and Shelby County Election Commission officials have said the library card photo ID cannot be used since it is not issued by a state or federal agency.
Robert Myers is chairman of the county election commission. Myers said, “According to essentially our boss in Nashville, the coordinator of elections for the state of Tennessee, they are not valid.”
But there are other forms of ID such as a driver’s license that can be used to vote.
Myers said, “If you don’t have a driver’s license with your photograph, but you’ve got an old one with your photograph that will work or you have a passport or other government ID, those will also work. So, we really haven’t had an issue (with library card ID) as of yet.”
Still, Turner says Tennessee’s state law about photo ID’s is vague for municipalities and the Democratic Party plans to make sure everyone can vote, “I think it’s something that’s political and something meant to keep certain individuals in our community away from the polls.”
In Tennessee, in addition to being a registered vote, you will need a valid photo ID.
Acceptable Photo IDs for Voting: Any of the following IDs may be used, even if expired:
- Tennessee drivers license with your photo
- United States Passport
- Photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security
- Photo ID issued by the federal or ANY state government
- United States Military photo ID
- State-issued handgun carry permit with your photo
Photo IDs NOT Accepted for Voting: College student IDs and photo IDs not issued by the federal or a state government are NOT acceptable.
For a complete detailing of the Tennessee State http://www.tn.gov/sos/election/photoID.htm
Absentee Option for Age 60+: The absentee voting law and requirements in Tennessee changed in 2012 to allow anyone 60 years of age or older to request and vote absentee. This means that someone who is 60+ who decides to not obtain a photo ID or who for some reason is unable to obtain a photo ID, can still vote as long as they are registered.
Voters are reminded that written requests for an absentee ballot should be sent to the Shelby County Election Commission at 980 Nixon Drive, Memphis, TN 38134. Requests for an absentee ballot are accepted no more than ninety (90) days and not less than seven (7) days before an election. Applications must be in the office seven (7) days before any election, and requests or applications received after this deadline must be rejected. This means, to vote in the Aug. 2 Election in Shelby County, a request for absentee ballot must be received by July 26. For a complete description of the absentee request process visit http://www.shelbyvote.com/DocumentCenter/Home/View/11