A Tennessee program meant to mitigate the potential disenfranchising effects of a new voter identification law is reaching only a small percentage of residents who don't have ID, a new report finds.
Tennessee's voter ID law went into effect at the beginning of the year, requiring citizens to present state or federally issued photo identification, such as driver's licenses, passports or concealed handgun carry permits, in order to cast a ballot. Student IDs and library cards were excluded from the list of acceptable forms of identification, though officials in Memphis are mounting an effort to make library cards acceptable.
Pro-voter ID legislators responded to concerns over the law by requiring the state to issue free photo IDs to residents who can't afford them. According to an inquiry from the Institute for Southern Studies, however, the state has only "issued 20,923 state IDs for voting purposes to citizens in Tennessee." That potentially leaves hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans still lacking the ID they will need to vote in November.
According to studies by voting rights group the Brennan Center, up to 10 percent of registered voters nationwide lack valid photo ID cards. Using that figure, the Institute for Southern Studies points out that Tennessee, with around 3.9 million registered voters, may be home to more than 380,000 citizens who wouldn't be able to vote if elections were held today.
OK, is there going to be a state that doesn't have these issues? think they might start learning their lessons?