With Tennessee lawmakers sensibly having approved a bill to head off voter fraud by requiring photo ID at polling places, the state is also taking steps to reduce the possibility that a legitimate voter will be unable to cast a ballot.
Recently, for example, the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security began opening nearly 20 driver service centers across the state one Saturday a month to smooth the path further for voters who need a state-issued photo ID.
The centers will be open the first Saturday of each month through March 2012. People who need photo ID to vote will be able to obtain it for free at the facilities. In addition, the department plans to convert driver's licenses that do not have photos into photo driver's licenses that can be used for voting.
Participating in this effort are two centers in Hamilton County: one on Dayton Boulevard in Red Bank and the other on Bonny Oaks Drive. A center in Bradley County will be open as well.
There are also other safeguards built into the law to protect legitimate voters.
Similar photo ID laws in other states have not been found to disenfranchise voters, and we are confident Tennessee's won't. But it is wise nonetheless to take precautions to protect the rights of valid voters.