Tennessee Supreme Court Upholds Voter ID Law

Article publisher: 
Article date: 
23 October 2013
Article category: 
National News
Article Body: 

Last Thursday, the Tennessee Supreme Court upheld SB16/HB7, a 2011 Tennessee law that requires voters to provide photo identification at the polls. (WBIR, Oct. 17, 2013) The Court held that "[p]rotection of the integrity of the election process empowers the state to enact laws to prevent voter fraud before it occurs. "And that "[i]t is within the authority of the General Assembly to guard against the risk of such fraud in this state, so long as it does not do so in an impermissibly intrusive fashion." (City of Memphis v. Hargett)

The Tennessee law provides that all citizens who vote in person must present photographic proof of their identity using a variety of acceptable forms of ID. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 2-7-112(a)(1)(B)) Acceptable forms of ID include a Tennessee driver license, U.S. passport, and Tennessee Department of Safety or Homeland Security photo IDs. College IDs, privately issued IDs or IDs issued by other states, a county or city government are not acceptable as voter ID at the polls. (Voter Identification Requirements)...

Secretary of State Tre Hargett said the "unanimous decision emphasizes just how well the law was written. We felt very strongly all along that the law would be found constitutional. I'm pleased but not surprised." (The Tennessean, Oct. 17, 2013) Plaintiff attorney George Barrett said he was disappointed with the ruling and would consult his clients before making a decision on potential next steps. (Id.)