1:23pm

Fri October 26, 2012
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State to Appeal Voter Photo ID Ruling

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) —Secretary of State Tre Hargett says Tennessee will ask the state Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that upholds the new voter photo ID law but orders the state to accept an ID issued by the Memphis public library.

Hargett says he was pleased the Court of Appeals upheld the new law’s constitutionality, but also says the Haslam Administration will continue to fend off any challenges to the measure.

“The palintiffs have maintained it’s a burden on voting – the court shot that down; they maintained it was a qualification on voting – the court shot that down; they maintained it was a violation of the equal protection act – they shot that down; they’ve even called it a poll-tax and the courts shot that down. So the plaintiffs were pretty much rebuffed at every turn, with the exception of the library card issue."

Opponents of the voter photo ID bill also have mixed feelings about yesterday’s ruling. Hedy Weinberg speaks for the Tennessee chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. She’s pleased Memphis managed to force the library card exception, but believes the photo ID law will still have a chilling effect on many qualified voters.

“They might say, ‘You know what? I don’t know what I need. I don’t have the right ID. I don’t know how to get the documentation to get the free ID. Therefore, I’m not even going to go to the polling place to cast my ballot.’ So there is an impact and an effect of this new photo ID law requirement that is very difficult to measure."

Hargett counters that more than 700,000 Tennesseans have already cast early ballots in the current election, but says less than 70 have been forced to register provisional ballots as a result of questions about their voting eligibility.