Tennessee Democrats say the state’s new voter ID law disenfranchises minorities and the elderly. It requires a photo ID to cast a ballot. Now they’ve unveiled a strategy to fight the law.
State and local election officials have started voter education efforts, ahead of the law taking effect next year. So have non-profit groups like AARP and the League of Women Voters. East Nashville Representative Mike Stewart says Democrats will do even more over the next year, including registering voters. Despite that, Stewart says the new voter ID requirement is a bad law.
“Taking somebody’s right to vote away by statute and then offering some education program, that’s like stealing somebody’s car, then dropping by their house and offering them a second-hand bicycle. I mean, the point is these people had the right to vote.”
The state’s Department of Public Safety has issued around 24-hundred voter IDs since July 1st. Some DMV offices will be open on Saturdays to accommodate the expected influx. County clerk offices will also start issuing voter ID cards. House Democratic Leader Mike Turner says the legislature’s Republican majority didn’t put enough money in the budget to pay for IDs for voters who don’t have them.
“We got to talking about this would be a poll tax if they didn’t fund this thing properly. We funded it to the tune of 400,000 dollars, but we did not know how much it would cost to do it.”
In Indiana, where the population is about the same as Tennessee, the state spent 10 million dollars over four years to issue voter IDs.
Election officials in all 95 counties will hold town hall meetings on the law tomorrow night.