(Memphis) Mayor A C Wharton is talking about the city’s lost battle with the TN Supreme Court to continue accepting library cards with a photo ID on it to vote.
Mayor Wharton says the city stood up for poor, disenfranchised voters in this fight.
He also says the state now knows if they try to mess with Memphis, it’s ready to fight in court, “We’re glad we did it. It sends a signal that the right to vote is so precious any time there appears to be the slightest incursion on that right then we’re going to fight.”
Wharton says he doubts the city will appeal the Tennessee Supreme Court’s decision to the federal government.
Memphis spent $60,000 taxpayer dollars to install the photo library card program even though state law said only state and federally issued photo IDs were acceptable to vote.
In April, after the Memphis court appeal, the General Assembly passed a law saying those free cards cannot be used as a picture ID.
“Emphasis ought to be on getting more people to vote as oppose to reducing the number of people who vote,” said Wharton.
The Tennessee Supreme Court says the law doesn’t prevent anyone from voting because anyone who can’t afford it, can get a free Photo ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles.
As for that $60,000 worth of equipment, Wharton says it was not a waste of money because people can use those photo ID library cards with MLGW to get their power turned back on and that could save lives.
He claims that was the original motivation for the equipment.
“If we save one more life because someone can go to light gas and water and have their utilities restored, then $60,000 is a mere pittance,” said Wharton.