Picture This: Few Attend Voter Photo ID Meeting

Although turnout was disappointing at the Town Hall Meeting Tuesday night, those in attendance got to voice their opinion on the State Legislature and Government.

The purpose of the meeting was to raise awareness of the new law requiring voters to present a valid ID before voting in any election beginning in January of 2012.

Only 12 people were in attendance Tuesday at Woodbury Grammar School as Wayne Pruitt of the State Election Office was on  hand to answer questions on the subject.  Comments ranged from complaints about the long lines at the various Tennessee Department Of Safety locations when getting a photo ID, to concerns that people won't vote as a result of the new law.  

Acceptable forms of photo ID a voter can present before voting at the polls include a Tennessee Drivers License with the person's photo, United States Passport, Department of Safety Photo ID, Photo ID issued by the federal or State government. United States Military Photo ID or a Gun permit card with a person's photo on it.

Those ID's do not have to be current, they can be expired.  Photo ID's not acceptable are Bank Cards, College Student Photo ID card, or any photo ID card not issued by the federal or state government.  City or County Issued ID cards are not acceptable.  

People exempt by the law are voters who vote absentee by mail.  Voters who are residents in a licensed nursing home or assisted living center and who vote at the facility. Voters who are hospitalized. Voters with a religious objection to being photographed and voters who are indigent and are unable to obtain a photo ID without paying a fee.

Most of these people who fall under the exempt status will have to fill out paperwork or sign affidavits accordingly.

If a person does not bring a photo ID to the polling place and the person is not exempt, they will be able to vote with a provisional ballot.

Afterwards the person will have two business days after the election to return to the county election commission office to show a valid photo ID.

Voters are allowed to obtain a free photo ID from the Tennessee Department Of Safety as long as they request one specifically for voting purposes.

The Woodbury meeting was the fourth stop of the day for Pruitt, who visited Sparta, Pikeville and Smithville. Pruitt reported that the turnout at each stop was similar to that of Woodbury's with only 10-15 people in attendance at each stop. It was also reported that Carthage didn't have anyone turnout at their Town Hall meeting.

If anyone needs any information about the new law they are encouraged to call the County Election Commission Office at 563-5650.