Hey Tennessee Republicans: you really want to charge World War II veterans a poll tax to vote? Seriously?
World War II veteran Darwin Spinks went to a testing center last month to get a photo ID for voting purposes. Under the law, any resident without a photo ID is supposed to get one free of charge. But when Spinks asked for an ID, he was told he had to pay an $8 fee.
First Tennessee Republicans denied 96-year-old Dorothy Cooper the specific ID she needed to vote, because she didn’t have her marriage certificate. Then 91-year-old Virginia Lasater was physically unable to stand and wait in the crowded Murfreesboro driver testing center. And now this.
Let’s remember: these folks all have ID. They have government-issued ID. What they don’t have is the specific form of ID that Tennessee’s state law has arbitrarily decided one needs to vote. Dorothy Cooper has a police-issued ID for the public housing where she lives. Not good enough! Darwin Spinks and Virginia Laseter even have driver’s licenses — but there’s no picture on them, because they’re senior citizens.
Maybe everyone should just go get a gun carry permit. That seems to be the one form of ID Tennessee Republicans think is suitable for voting. I wonder why?
Even worse, the recent MTSU poll found that most Tennesseans don’t really understand the new voter ID law or what arbitrary forms of ID are acceptable:
Just under three in four Tennesseans say they have heard that state residents who go to vote will be asked to show a photo ID starting in 2012.
— But a little over half of respondents knew that a valid employee ID issued by a major automaker to a worker at one of its Tennessee plants would be unacceptable.
— Only 32 percent knew that “a valid University of Tennessee student identification card would be unacceptable.”
— Only 14 percent knew that an expired drivers license would be acceptable
That Tennesseans are embarrassingly uninformed on something this important is about par for the course. I suspect we’ll hear a lot more horror stories on election day, when people actually show up to vote and are turned away. Some of them might — gasp! — even be Republicans.
I wonder if Bill Ketron and Debra Maggart have thought of that?