NASHVILLE, Tenn. — State Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) will present legislation in the Senate State and Local Government Committee tomorrow that would authorize the use of student photo IDs as acceptable identification for voting purposes. Senate Bill 125 also clarifies that locally issued photo library cards are not allowed under Tennessee’s voter ID law.
“This legislation allows photo IDs issued by state community colleges and state universities as an acceptable form of identification,” said Senator Ketron. “We allowed the use photo identification of faculty members of our state colleges and universities under the original Tennessee law which passed in 2011. We believe that this state issued ID has worked as a sufficient form of identification and that students should also be included.”
Ketron said the legislation clears up any confusion regarding locally issued cards which he said were not supposed to be allowed under the original law passed in 2011. This includes any library cards issued by local governments.
The Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled last fall that library cards issued by the Memphis Library were an acceptable form of identification for voting purposes. The court said that the 2011 law did not clearly spell out that locally issued photo identification cards were not allowed. The state appealed that decision.
“We considered locally issued cards when debating the original bill, but after reviewing the process, decided that the safeguards were not in place to ensure the integrity of the ballot like state and federally issued identification,” said Senator Ketron. “We continue to believe that the safeguards are not in place to use these cards as acceptable identification for voting purposes.”
“This is simply a bill to make it clear that the photo identification must be state or federally issued photo ID cards, and that students attending state universities can use their photo ID when voting,” he concluded.