Press Release from Tennessee Citizen Action, Oct. 26, 2011:
Phote ID To Vote: The Devil Is In The Details
This week, a new poll issued by the MTSU Survey Group revealed that most Tennesseans are aware of new law requiring a government-issued photo ID to vote, but many confused about the details.
We’re not surprised because the devil lives in the details of this new law. The requirements necessary for Tennesseans to comply are restrictive, excessive, and extremely confusing.
For instance, the law states that the ID must be a “valid government-issued photo ID” but we’re being told we can use an expired drivers license. We’re also being told that IDs issued by certain government institutions, such as state universities and colleges, cannot be used, but others, such as gun permits, are perfectly acceptable.
Adding to the confusion is the very specific and excessive ID requirements needed for Tennesseans to obtain the necessary ID. You need proof of U.S. Citizenship AND a primary proof of identity with full name and date of birth (like an original copy of a birth certificate) AND a secondary proof of identity AND a proof of name change if different from name on primary ID AND TWO proofs of Tennessee residency. Phew.
Basically, the law requiring a government-issued photo ID to vote is taking away people’s right to vote, telling them they have to get a government-issued photo ID to get it back, and confusing the hell out of them in the process. This is NOT what democracy looks like and as proof, more and more stories are coming out about the consequences of this excessive and restrictive law (see sidebar).
Fight Back: Repeal, Serve, & Monitor
Many of you are asking, what can we do to fight back? Our answer is threefold – repeal, serve, & monitor.
1) REPEAL: Work to circulate the petition to repeal the law in your community. Learn more…
2) SERVE: Work with groups like the Tennessee Voter Assistance Coalition and serve voters by helping them to get the necessary ID.
3) MONITOR: Work with groups like the League of Women Voters to become a poll watcher and help monitor the effects of the law in the upcoming elections.
As the fall progresses, we will give you more information to help you with your efforts to repeal, serve & monitor. In the meantime, you can take advantage of the many events and forums scheduled around the state to help educate yourself about the new law.
Educate: Know The Photo ID to Vote Law
Thursday, Oct 27, 2011- 6:00 pm
North Nashville: Matthew Walker Community Health Center, 1035 14th Ave North
Forum to educate about the new law requiring a government-issued photo ID to vote. Officials will attend to explain the requirements of the law and to answer questions. North Nashville: Sponsored by: Nashville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Partners: NAACP, Tennessee Citizen Action
Saturday, October 29th – 2:00 PM
Salter’s Chapel AME Church, Waverly, TN
“Value Your Vote” Fall Fest event sponsored by Urban EpiCenter. Photo ID to Vote workshop and voter registration.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Statewide Outreach Programs
Election officials in all 95 Tennessee counties will be hosting outreach programs on 11/1. The formats will vary from county to county, but most are hosting town hall meetings where citizens can ask questions about the new law. A list with the time and location of each county’s event can be viewed at www.tnsos.net.
Thursday, November 3, 2011 – 6:30 pm
Antioch: Mount Zion Baptist Church, 2261 Murfreesboro Road.
Forum to educate about the new law requiring a government-issued photo ID to vote. Officials will attend to explain the requirements of the law and to answer questions. Partners: Mt Zion Church, Sponsored by: Nashville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Partners: Nashville Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta and Tennessee Citizen Action.
Monday, November 14, 2011 – 6:30 pm
Bordeaux: Faith United Baptist Church, 600 Revels Drive.
Forum to educate about the new law requiring a government-issued photo ID to vote. Officials will attend to explain the requirements of the law and to answer questions. Sponsored by: Nashville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Partners: North Nashville Neighborhood Association and Haynes Neighborhood Association, Tennessee Citizen Action