Mar 20 2014
09:56 am

Tom Humphrey has this report that several college students were attending a House subcommittee meeting where a bill to allow student ID for voting was being heard. When there was a proposal to delay the bill for study, the students staged a protest (singing), got thrown out, and chairman Joe Carr killed the bill.

From the report: "Fisk University student Justin Jones told the subcommittee he has registered to vote in Tennessee but has no driver’s license, passport, gun-carry permit or other photo ID required under the law for voting. He asked that his Fisk photo ID, and others issued by Tennessee colleges, be allowed."

Why don't Tennessee Republicans want students to vote?

Anyway, why can't these students just go to the DMV and get a free, state issued photo ID suitable for voting?

Good question. But it's not that simple. According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, registered voters seeking a voter photo ID must provide "proof of citizenship (such as a birth certificate), and two proofs of Tennessee residency (such as a copy of a utility bill, vehicle registration/title, or bank statement)."

Assuming a student has all this, they must then go to one of the "48 Driver Service Centers across the state" that offer "full service" including photo ID.

Note that there are six service centers listed for Knoxville. However, voter photo ID is only available at one - the Knoxville/Strawberry Plains Driver Services Center. It's open Monday through Friday, 8AM to 5PM, except "taking applicants may be stopped at 3:00 p.m. in order to process applicants by 5:00 p.m."

Best I can tell, there's no bus service to that location. Presumably, students will have to ride their bicycles out I-40 to Strawberry Plains. Seniors and disabled people who don't drive have a similar problem. Also, there are no service centers at all in Grainger, Jefferson, Loudon, and Union counties. So those folks would have similar problems.

So that's a lot of hoops to jump through for students, seniors, disabled people and others who don't have a driver's license or handgun carry permit to get a "free" voter photo ID. The legislature is clearly aware of the problem and chooses to do nothing about it except thumb its nose at democracy.

R. Neal's picture

What would be cool is if UT

What would be cool is if UT or some candidate organized bus rides to the Strawberry Plains DOT center for mass issue of student photo IDs.

But according to Department of Safety and Homeland Security, they should first call Linda or Wanda (no, seriously, it says it right there on the state's web page) to schedule an appointment.

zoomfactor's picture

And then they would be told...

"We don't have any openings until [after the election]."

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