published Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Voter ID bill passes state Senate committee

NASHVILLE — Tennessee voters would have to show government-issued photo identification before being allowed to vote under a bill approved today.

The photo ID legislation, Senate Bill 16, passed 6-3 along partisan lines in the Senate State and Local Government Committee.

Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, said the bill is necessary to combat voter fraud, but Sen. Thelma Harper, D-Nashville, called the proposal “voter intimidation.”

Under the bill, voters would have to present an ID such as a driver’s license, hunting license or passport in order to vote. Those without such an ID could cast a provisional ballot but would have to present a photo ID within two days. The bill exempts persons 65 and older and those who vote absentee.

Similar legislation has passed the Senate previously, but it has been blocked in the House. However, Republicans think that, with a 64-34-1 House GOP majority, the legislation will pass this year.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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