Photo ID voter requirement approved by Tennessee Senate

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February 15, 2011

NASHVILLE, Tennessee: Last night a bill passed the Tennessee State Senate that would require voters to provide some form of government-issued ID at the polls. For the bill to become law, it must still pass the Tennessee House of Representatives and then go to the governor for approval.[1]

Senator Bill Ketron (R) sponsored the bill saying, "Currently we do not have a good measure to stop voter impersonation."[1]

The bill cleared the senate, receiving 21 votes in favor and 11 opposed. Democratic senator Douglas Henry joined with the 20-member Republican majority in voting in favor of the legislation.

Democrats have objected to the measure on the grounds that not all citizens, including the poor, disabled, and elderly, own a photo ID and may not be able to afford to purchase a card to vote. Democratic senator Roy Herron states, "It is a modern-day poll tax for these people."[1]

Republicans replied to these concerns by stating that citizens will have the option of signing an affidavit which states that they can't acquire a photo ID.

While this bill has been attempted several times in the past, Republicans are optimistic this year as they have gained a nearly 2/3 majority in the Tennessee House in last year's election.

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