70s-era Marine Calls Voter Photo ID Unconstitutional, Barred from Voting

An East Nashville voter balked at showing a photo ID at his polling place today, then protested the law requiring one. The former Marine contends making voters produce IDs doesn’t line up with what he tried to do during his military service.

Tim Thompson is a tall, skinny guy in his mid-50s. He was wearing a baseball cap with the logo of the United States Marine Corps.

A couple of hours after he was turned away from his polling place on McGavock Pike for failing to show a photo ID, Thompson was at Legislative Plaza to vent to lawmakers. And he was still upset.


“The thing that sticks in my craw is, I took the oath. I took the oath to prevent these kinds of law from being in effect, that discriminate against certain people that they’re supposed to protect.”

Thompson served as a military policeman in Hawaii in the early 1970s. Today he is the head chef at Belmont Retirement Center, serving people he says are targeted by the photo ID law.

“Because it definitely discriminates against people who are less fortunate. The students, the poor people, the 88-year-old woman that didn’t…couldn’t vote because she can’t afford, she couldn’t get, a birth certificate.”

Thompson spent most of the rest of the day arguing to lawmakers that the photo voter ID law should be overturned.

Web Extra:

Thompson says he’s voted at Dalewood Baptist Church for eight years, and his voter registration card was always enough.


“Today they informed me, by this new law …that I need to show a legal ID. Here’s my ID, but I refuse to show it, on the basis that this law is unconstitutional. And it defies everything that I stand for as a Marine.”

He says the law makes it more difficult for poor and old people to vote.


“I’m not prejudiced against Democrat or Republican. They’re all Americans to me. That’s who I fought for. That’s who I protect their rights, right now. And that’s why I demonstrated today, against this law.”

Reporter’s Note:
Anybody can wear a cap with a USMC Globe, Anchor and Eagle on it. We hit Thompson with a couple of quick questions to establish his bonafides.

Question: You were in the Marines, I take it as an infantryman?
Thompson: Oh-three-eleven, yessir, I was a grunt. But my duty station was Honolulu, Hawaii. I was a military police, an MP.

Question: What’s the name of the base at Honolulu that the Marines are assigned to?
Thompson: Barber’s Point…oh, at Kaneohe.

He was pretty quick.

Orders are drafted to go to the Marine facility at Kaneohoe Bay – but Thompson was stationed at Barber’s Point, he says.

Please keep your community civil. Comments will be moderated prior to posting, and Nashville Public Radio reserves the right to approve them at its discretion. Comments containing links promoting goods, services - even noble organizations - will not be published. Your comments may include external links, but all comments with links will be delayed as they are reviewed. Comments containing profanity will be rejected.