High Voter Turnout Despite Photo ID Law

Of the more than 600,000 votes cast in Tennessee’s primary elections last week, 277 were from provisional ballots bec ause voters didn’t have a valid photo I.D.

Tennessee Election Coordinator, Mark Goins, says the low number of provisional ballots is proof that the state’s new photo I.D. law isn’t keeping people from voting.

“You’d think that, that you know a lot of individuals would not be allowed to vote because they didn’t have a photo. What we’re seeing is just the opposite.”

Still, Goins says spreading information about the voter I.D. requirement will be a “marathon and not a sprint.”

Opponents of the I.D. law complain it will disenfranchise minority groups and the elderly.

Hedy Weinberg is the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union. She says the law has a chilling effect and the provisional ballot totals don’t shed light on the number of people who didn’t go to the polls.

“Rather than focus the attention on provisional ballots and that there were so few of them cast, as Mark Goins says, we need to focus on the fact that we have thousands and thousands of eligible voters in this state who are finding it and will find it difficult come November to cast their vote.”

The city of Memphis is challenging the photo I.D. law, claiming it’s a requirement beyond what’s outlined in Tennessee’s constitution.

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