When Moore County voters head to the polls on March 6 for the Presidential Primary, they’ll be subject to a new state law that requires Tennesseans to show photo identification when they vote. The new law went into effect on Jan. 1.
“Our focus, up to this year’s elections and beyond, is educating voters about what this law will mean to them,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett, who oversees the division. “This new law helps us combat a specific type of election fraud known as voter identity theft,” Election Coordinator Mark Goins said. “This type of fraud is very difficult to detect, absent safeguards like requiring photo IDs.”
To date, the voter outreach campaign on the photo ID law has included events hosted by election administrators in all 95 counties, more than a million pieces of literature being distributed and hundreds of public talks presented. Secretary Hargett or Coordinator Goins have personally conducted many of the presentations.
The division has partnered with groups as diverse as AARP and the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature to target specific groups that might be affected by the new law. Media tools ranging from billboards to social networks have been used to spread information about the law.
The law requires photo IDs for most voters, but there are a number of exemptions. People who vote absentee by mail are not required to show photo IDs, nor are people who are voting from hospitals, nursing homes or assisted living facilities. People who have religious objections to being photographed and those who are indigent and unable to obtain a photo ID without paying a fee are exempted.
People who forget to bring photo IDs with them to the polls can cast provisional ballots, then return to their local election headquarters within two business days after elections to present valid photo IDs.
The law requires people to show a valid state or federal government-issued photo ID in order to vote. Examples of acceptable forms of ID include: driver licenses, U.S. passports, Department of Safety photo ID cards, U.S. military photo IDs and other state or federal government photo ID cards. College student IDs are not acceptable.
If you do not have an accept-able form of photo ID or would like more information about the new law, call (877) 850-4959 or visit the Division of Elections web site.
Republican- and Democrat-controlled legislatures have passed photo ID laws in several states. In November, Mississippi residents voted by a large mar-gin to amend the state constitution to require photo IDs for voting.