Nobody Should Put Grandma In a Corner

While the richest 1% in Tennessee are coddled and given special treatment and hardworking Tennesseans get dumped on, Tennessee extremist conservative legislators are also fiddling with what is very often the only voice hardworking Tennesseans have in our government – the right to vote. This week, the bills that start fiddling with the excessive law that requires a very specific government- issued photo ID to vote law, start their parade through the House State and Local Government Committee.

On Tuesday, SB 2128/HB 2174 sailed through the Senate and House Committees. This bill, sponsored by the Sen. Bill Ketron and Rep. Debra Maggart (who also sponsored the photo ID to vote law) would allow registered voters to vote “no questions asked” absentee at the age of 60 years or older instead of 65 (see the laws governing absentee voting in Tennessee as they stand now at www.tn.gov/sos/election). And while on its face this seems like a good idea, nothing but a full repeal of the law requiring a government-issued photo ID to vote will allow for free and fair elections for all – no matter what your age is.

As it stands now, the law requiring a government-issued photo ID to vote makes it so that it’s no longer enough, if you’re a senior citizen and have been voting in person for decades, to sign an oath – under penalty of law – at your polling place that states you are who you say you are. In other words, by requiring a photo ID to vote, the state is taking away a person’s right to vote and then requiring them to have a very specific government-issued photo ID to get it back.

And besides, why should seniors be forced to vote absentee when they want nothing more than to be part of our democratic process by showing up at their polling place and casting their ballot for their candidate?

Voting absentee “no questions asked” for those over 60 is a anemic fix to a problem that was created by unnecessary legislation passed by our state legislature.

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