By Ben Lawson
Beginning in 2012, the voting process in Tennessee will change to help create a more secure process by requiring a photo ID for all voters.
The Tennessee General Assembly recently made the change in an effort to update security during election time, just as people boarding a plane or cashing a check must present an ID.
Forms of acceptable photo ID include a Tennessee driver’s license, a United States passport, a Department of Safety ID, a United States military ID, a state-issued handgun carry permit or any other photo ID from the federal or state government. College student IDs are not acceptable.
“Our staff is prepared to help voters learn about the new requirements, and, if necessary, how to get a photo ID,” said Ronee Flynn, Sevier County elections administrator. “We will do our best to ensure every voter is informed in plenty of time.”
To help get the information out to the public, a town hall meeting has been scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 1 at the Sevier County Court House.
“The goal of the town hall meeting is to educate the public and prepare voters for the upcoming 2012 elections,” Flynn said. “We want voters to have plenty of time to obtain a valid photo ID if they do not already possess one.”
Obtaining an ID for voting is simple: anyone without a valid government-issued ID may pick one up from any Department of Safety drive license testing station for free. Voters with religious objections to being photographed, those unable to obtain an ID without a fee, absentee voters, or those in hospitals and assisted living centers will be exempt from the new rule.
Anyone who does not provide a valid ID will be allowed to vote on a provisional ballot. The individual must return with a valid ID within two business days after Election Day to have their vote counted.
For any questions regarding the new requirements, contact Mark Goins, coordinator of elections, or Andrew Dodd, elections specialist at 1-877-850-4959. For the local election commission, call 865-453-6985.
New Voting Laws for 2012
By Ben Lawson