Photo ID Required To Vote: Where’s the Problem?

September 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Fair Elections, Recent Blog Posts

Senator Bill Ketron

In a press conference yesterday Sen. Bill Ketron, chief proponent of the new law that will require all eligible voters in Tennessee to show a photo ID to vote, touted the case of an ex-felon who never properly had his voting rights restored as proof that the new law is necessary. From the Tennessean:

Ketron…provided a copy of documentation showing that Pegel [current local Democratic Party Vice Chairman Tony Pegel] had been convicted of robbery April 30, 1984, and was granted final release by April 30, 1994, from incarceration or supervision by the Board of Probation/Parole, the Department of Correction, or county corrections authorities, according to the Tennessee Division of Election.

Pegel was still on probation from his 1984 conviction when he registered to vote in 1992, and a former Election Commission staff member accepted his application, Rutherford County Election Administrator Nicole Lester said.

“He was mistakenly put on as a registered voter April 1, 1992,” said Lester, noting that was two years before Pegel should have been able to restore his voting rights.

She said Pegel did list that he was a convicted felon on his application but failed to provide required details about what crimes he’d committed or if he had restored his voting rights.

Leaving aside the fact that Mr. Pegel filled out his voter registration form correctly by checking the box to admit he had been a felon and that it was the election officials who made the mistake, it’s evident that this type of case is not a problem that the new photo ID law will solve. Felons and ex-felons are not prohibited by law from obtaining a government issued photo ID, like a drivers license.

Perhaps it would be better to focus on the real source of the problem. Perhaps a a real solution would be to make sure that election officials have a thorough process in place to address this scenario including cross referencing voter rolls with felony convictions and simplifying the laws that govern how and when an ex-felons can get their right to vote back.

So what is the problem that requiring a photo ID to vote will solve? We’re still looking…

Read more:
Knoxville News Sentinel – Humphrey on the Hill
Nashville Scene
Daily News Journal
The Murfreesboro Post


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7 Responses to “Photo ID Required To Vote: Where’s the Problem?”
  1. John Rutherford says:

    While the General Assembly passed Photo ID, the solution to a problem that isn’t there, they ignored a real problem in our system of elections in this state, and that is our change of address process. Any registered voter can change his or her address of registration simply by verbally indicating they have moved. There is no documentation required. During the recent runoff elections in five Metro Nashville council districts, many voters from non-runoff districts, changed their address just to cast a vote in the runoff. The election commission cannot challenge them, as they have no authority to ask for validation of the new address.

  2. Jeff Adams says:

    Requiring voters to show ID is meaningless. they have control of the code for the voting machines and they can show any result that they want. We need to have UT Dept of technology review all code changes/software updates to any machine before each election to ensure that they have not tampered with it.

  3. Steve Downey says:

    When I first saw this article in the Tennessean, I re-read it and re-read it, certain that I had missed the point.

    The most disturbing thing about this story is not that Ketron promotes a position I disagree with, it’s that he’s can’t even make a good argument for his own case. When plain-headed stupidity takes the place of honest political disagreement, we are in deep, deep trouble.

  4. I can appreciate, given the source, the difficulty in finding the “problem” with this nefarious legislation.

    More than 675,000 rgistered voters in Tennessee may be unable to cast their votes as of January 1, 2012. How’s THAT for a problem? The elderly. The poor. Blacks. Latinos. Those who cannot physically (or financially) endure a 60-120 mile round-trip which would require the payment of fees for an “auhentic” proof (Birth Certificate). Poll tax, anyone? You may well be registered to vote, and have a Voter Registration Card to prove it.

    Now, there is an “additional” requirement. If you look at the groups who may well be disenfranchised by this insanity, you might well begin to form an opinion as to WHY this law was REALLY created. There is proof sufficient to discount the stated reasons, so without the power of truth coming from our Legislature, we as citizens must observe the facts, and determine what the truth is.

    The important thing to know is that we can. And, we are noting the proof of the truth of this (and many other) legislative actions of the past term. It is also important to know that we, as true citizens of Tennessee can overcome this dark attempt. Find out those on your street who fall in these (and other) important categories, and help them by doing the unreasonably difficult, extra work required to insure that they can exercise the franchise after January 1, 2012. Remember what the private political desires of a few cost you, and tell your story to everyone you know. Do not allow someone where you live to be disenfranchised from the constitutional right to vote.

    We are the citizens those of the ilk of Senator Ketron would make irrelevant in our State. Stand up! Fight Back! Democracy is, finally, up to us! Do NOT allow this dark and ugly legislation do the bidding of it’s masters!



Check out what others are saying about this post...
  1. […] deal with the Rutherford County Election Commission where a press conference isn’t necessary. LINK Perhaps it would be better to focus on the real source of the problem. Perhaps a a real solution […]

  2. […] says anyone over 65 who doesn’t get a photo ID can vote absentee by mail, which is contrary to comments like Herron’s that indicate the state is creating barriers to the ballot box. He said 126,000 […]

  3. […] says anyone over 65 who doesn’t get a photo ID can vote absentee by mail, which is contrary to comments like Herron’s that indicate the state is creating barriers to the ballot box. He said 126,000 […]

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