Some Photo IDs Are More Equal Than Others


Tennessee apparently has the second-lowest voter turnout in the nation, right behind Texas. Thanks, Tennessee Republicans, for doing your part to make us Number One!

Well, it makes perfect sense. As Bill Clinton has often said, when people vote, Democrats win. And of course, we can’t have that.


Tennessee has one of those heinous voter suppression ID laws that Republicans love these days, even though it apparently “solves” an entirely fictitious, manufactured “problem.” In fact, the one case of vote fraud which Republican bill sponsor State Senator Bill Ketron can point to would in no way have been prevented by showing the approved forms of ID which the new law requires. Funny, that.

Democratic State Senator Roy Herron wrote an excellent op-ed in Memphis’ Commercial Appeal pointing out some obvious issues with this law, chief among them being:

Only 43 of Tennessee’s 95 counties have driver’s license centers. Half the counties in West Tennessee, and two-thirds of the counties in my state Senate district, don’t have them.

Oh well, that’s what they get for living in a district represented by a Democrat. /snark

There’s just no rhyme or reason to this law’s ID requirements, which are:

» Driver’s license, including expired and out-of-state
» State ID card
» U.S. passport
» Government employee ID, state or federal
» Military ID
» Handgun carry permit
» Student ID, even from a state college
» Credit card with picture
» Discount club card
» Medicare card

So an out of state or expired driver’s license is okay, but a student ID is not? A credit card with a picture on it is not, but a government employee ID is? What’s up with that? If the purpose is just to authenticate identification, not residency, then any photo ID should work: work IDs, credit cards, you name it. It’s just so obviously arbitrary.

Tennessee has a special problem on its hands because it doesn’t require senior citizens over age 60 to get a photo on their drivers’ licenses, thereby making it easier for them to renew online. So now we have a whole bunch of pissed off senior citizens suddenly faced with getting picture ID’s, courtesy of the Republican state legislature.

I just don’t get why the Republicans would disenfranchise so many of their core voters this way, unless they’re so drunk on ALEC Kool-Aid they didn’t really stop to think about what they’re doing.


Filed under Tennessee, voter fraud, voter turnout

10 responses to “Some Photo IDs Are More Equal Than Others

  1. I agree with you about the voter ID. My own home state of Pennsylvania is trying to pass something similar right now. And if it wasn’t transparent enough what our governor’s intentions are, he’s trying to pass something else so that PA’s votes would be doled out by county instead of your traditional winner-take-all. The point in that case is, of course, to counteract the usual Dem strategy of pushing voter turnout in Philly. Under his plan, no matter how many people in Philly voted, it would still result in 1 vote out of 21. Factor in that their other strengths are one or two counties in Pittsburgh and the Philly suburbs (which are liberalizing, but are historically Rep), and I could see them winding up winning the state, but only getting 5 votes in a bad year. Even in a good one, it would only increase to 10 or 11. Say goodbye to any impact PA has on our presidential elections.

  2. Min

    Has the AARP mobilized yet?

  3. My VA ID is not an ID, except at the VA where I have to show it to get anything done–oh, yeah, and Lowe’s, where it gets me a discount, and Ponderosa, where it gets me a free steak on Veteran’s Day and other places that don’t give veteran’s a discount unless you can prove you’re a veteran. Wal-Mart, btw, along with Sears, JC Penney and a host of other huge corporations who directly benefit from our continued occupation of many foreign military bases, give fuckall to veterans.

    • Did they have a GI Bill when you got out of the service? Once upon a time we thanked veterans for their service with more than meaningless gestures and empty rhetoric. Nowadays, a “Mission Accomplished” banner and photo op is all you get.

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  5. Southern Beale:

    Yes, they had G.I. Bill, which I did not take advantage of until my last year of eligibility–my bad. I think my max draw was about $300/month. Of course, back then, full load tuition at UMass-Dartmouth (right next to New Bedford, MA) was about $450/Semester.

    The Montgomery Bill gives service members an opportunity to contribute a portion of their salary and leverage it into a decent educational trust fund. Of course they have to live long enough to use it. I don’t know if their contribution is returned to survivors if they are killed.

  6. montag

    I would love to see community organizations working with people who need ID’s to help folks get them. The state ID should be free but it would be fun to see everyone apply for a handgun permit. I can’t imagine the NRA would let the state charge much for one.

    • it would be fun to see everyone apply for a handgun permit.

      OMG I had that same thought! That exact same thought! Can you imagine if masses of the Great Unwashed — the brown people, the “strapping young bucks,” all come flooding in to get a state handgun permit! Hil-fucking-larious.

  7. Pingback: TN Voter ID FAIL | Southern Beale