Friday, October 19, 2012

State Court of Appeals Takes Up Voter ID

Posted By on Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 8:43 AM

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This week's Scene cover story looks at the state's new law requiring voters to have a photo ID in order to vote. Jeff Woods looks at the court challenge over the law, and I spent a day at a Driver Service Center with voters trying to comply with it.

There's also an FAQ section, to clarify what types of photo ID are acceptable, what types aren't, and other questions one might have about the law.

Yesterday, the state Court of Appeals heard arguments on the constitutionality of the law, and Andrea Zelinski was there for The City Paper. An excerpt from her report after the jump:

One day after polls opened for early voting, the three-member court heard arguments from the city of Memphis and two of its residents who say they were stripped of their right to vote due to the state’s new law requiring voters present a federal or state photo ID.

“Both the Constitution and the election statutes have a tension between maximizing participation and ensuring that those who participate are entitled to participate. That’s a tension that occasionally clashes and I think this might be one of those places where it does,” said Appeals Judge Andy Bennett.

“You want to have everybody who is entitled to vote, vote. And one way of making sure a person is entitled to vote is proving they are who they say they are and the best method is probably a photograph,” he said. He was joined by Judges Michael Swiney and Richard Dinkins on the court.

The judges appeared split on the issue and would normally take months to render a decision. But with early voting underway and the Nov. 6 Election Day near, a decision on the expedited case is expected within weeks. Both sides would have the option to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Read Zelinski's entire story here.

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