published Sunday, November 6th, 2011

State offices issue more than 600 voter photo IDs Saturday

BY THE NUMBERS


Photo ID's issued in region Saturday

76: Bonny Oaks

52: Red Bank

37: Cleveland

Source: Department of Safety

On the first Saturday that some Tennessee driver license centers opened to provide free photo ID to voters, 165 people in Hamilton County and Cleveland, Tenn., got the new cards.

"It's been highly advertised," Department of Safety District Supervisor Caroline Walker said at the Bonny Oaks driver license center Saturday afternoon.

In the wake of a new state law requiring photo ID to vote, the state said it would open some driver license centers on the first Saturday of the month through March to allow people to get the needed card.

Agnes M. Thomas, of Apison, and her husband were among the few people in the Bonny Oaks center at midafternoon. She said they planned their trip for a slow day because her husband can't stand for very long.

Thomas, who said she's "78 or 79," agrees with the idea of making people show photo ID to vote.

"I think it's a good thing. Really, it serves a lot of purposes. You know who you've got [in the voting booth]," she said.

Four cars were in the parking lot at the new driver license center in Red Bank at midafternoon.

Getting into her red van, Judy Lewis of Red Bank said it was a smooth process to fill out the application and get a photo made, but she has "mixed emotions" about the law requiring photo ID.

"The older I get, the uglier they [photos] look," she joked. On the other hand, "I'm sure there are some [unqualified voters] that goes through."

Hamilton County Clerk Bill Knowles also is providing free photo ID's.

And the state Department of Safety has created a video explaining the law and what kind of identification is acceptable to vote. The video is at www.GoVoteTn.com.

about Judy Walton...

Judy Walton has worked 25 years at the Chattanooga Times and the Times Free Press as an editor and reporter focusing on government coverage and investigations. At various times she has been an assistant metro editor, region reporter and editor, county government reporter, government-beat team leader, features editor and page designer. Originally from California, Walton was brought up in a military family and attended a dozen schools across the country. She earned a journalism degree ...

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