published Monday, October 10th, 2011

Tennessee Democrats use Chattanooga photo ID denial in fundraising

In this Oct. 4, 2011 photo, Dorothy Cooper, 96, discusses problems she had getting a photo identification card at the Hamilton County Election Commission in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Boynton Terrace resident plans to vote by absentee ballot, which will not require a photo ID.
In this Oct. 4, 2011 photo, Dorothy Cooper, 96, discusses problems she had getting a photo identification card at the Hamilton County Election Commission in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Boynton Terrace resident plans to vote by absentee ballot, which will not require a photo ID.
Photo by John Rawlston /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
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Should voters be required to show a photo ID?
  • Yes. 65%
  • No. 35%

804 total votes.

Tom Humphrey, Nashville Bureau Chief

The case of Dorothy Cooper, a 96-year-old Chattanooga woman who encountered problems in trying to get a free photo ID for voting under a new state law, has gained national attention and is being used in fundraising by the state Democratic Party.

As initially reported by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Cooper — who had been voting since the 1930s — went to a driver's license station to get a photo ID and was turned down because she didn't have her marriage certificate. She did have a birth certificate, her voter registration card and other documents.

In a fundraising letter last week, state Democratic Chairman Chip Forrester cites the case as an example of how "the Republican photo ID law has suppressed another voter." He asks for donations "to support our efforts to ensure people like Dorothy — or your grandmother — can be a voter on Election Day."

Forrester also cites comments by House Republican Caucus Chairman Debra Maggart, sponsor of the photo ID bill, in questioning contentions that the law will suppress turnout of "these people."

A Maggart comment Forrester cited was one she made to reporters last month: "Tell me how people are buying beer and cigarettes? They have to have an ID to do that ... I have a hard time believing that all these people don't have an ID. ... You have to have a photo ID to get public housing."

Says Forrester in his letter: "This is a disgraceful and sickening way to talk about responsible registered voters like Dorothy Cooper! Dorothy and our grandparents deserve better."

Meanwhile, the Rev. Al Sharpton had Cooper on his MSNBC Politics Nation show, telling viewers that her case illustrates the "radical Republican voter suppression" efforts now under way in Tennessee and elsewhere.

The mild-mannered Cooper says nothing of the sort. But in response to Sharpton questioning about whether she had ever encountered a problem in voting — even during "Jim Crow days" — she did say, "I never thought it would be like this, ever."

Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons said Friday that Cooper's attempt to get a photo ID was mishandled and department officials have since been in touch with her to promise a card will be issued if she returns for another try.

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XGSBoss said...

To translate Mr Gibbons comment from above. (Not sure why he's quoted since he's over safety and homeland security) - Come back old lady, you were meant to just go home and sulk. Now this administration has given those devil-like democrats free ammo against those saintly republicans. Come back, get your card and shut up.

Certainly he's not the guy from ZZ Top. He would be SO MUCH better in the Safety Commissioner 's job.

Dot Cooper is obviously more gracious, more level headed, more forgiving than I. Eh, that's as it should be. I will fight along with millions of others who recognize injustice. In her name...

October 10, 2011 at 10:17 a.m.
midnitewatchman said...

If I read the first article correct, she was denied at first on a local level and the state told the local employee what they should have done and one was issued. Its not a flaw in the law, its employees not knowing what to do. There was another article recently about an elderly man with the same problem. Again, it was the local employee, not the law itself. Integrity in the Democratic process must be preserved. Anything to keep dead people from voting scares some politicians!

October 10, 2011 at 10:22 a.m.
rusty7 said...

So, if she wasn't black, would it be an issue? What color was the worker who turned her down?? Besides, they fixed the problem, she was not denied. I don't see the problem with making people prove they are who they say they are. It's not a Rep or Dem thing. Dems should be supportive of the law as well. Why wouldn't they be?? It kind of makes Dems look like they need voter fraud to get elected. In another article, people complain about waiting at the DMV...Pretty funny there.. I guess they need to hire more people, right?? Wait, the government needs to make cuts though, right?? Another example of people wanting the govt. to save money as long as it doesn't affect their govt. services!! How often do you have to go to the DMV anyway?? Hmm, my license says, once every 6 years. I think I can wait a while for the privilege of driving and I could certainly wait a while for the privilege of voting too.

October 10, 2011 at 11:12 a.m.
hambone said...

Once again I will point out that most all documented cases of voter fraud have involved poll workers misbehaving.

How does requiring a photo ID stop that??

October 10, 2011 at 11:21 a.m.
sandyonsignal said...

Arbitrary and capricious are two reasons why this law is unconstitutional. One set of rules for one person and another for someone else.

Thanks Republican legislature for passing this illegal law and wasting tax payers money so it can go into litigation. Funny, how the GOP despises the court system for everyone but themselves.

October 10, 2011 at 11:32 a.m.
lightkeeper said...

To add on to the dirty tactics of these so called saintly conservatives especially the ones in Hamilton county, they turned around and moved the drivers liscense station to red bank thats not suppose to be a part of Chattanooga to let them tell it, where no buses run that makes it exstremly difficult if not impossible to reach this new station. Nothing else ever gets put in red bank. You can deny it all you want, but we know why it was put there, just wait untill this gets know NATIONALLY, and conservatives call themselves christians LORD HAVE MERCY!

October 10, 2011 at 12:56 p.m.
bigguy said...

@lightkeeper - Why do you need a driver's license if you ride the bus? That doesn't make sense to me. Here's a solution to all of our problems: divide everybody into two classes; the haves and the have nots. Then make the haves support (and drive around) the have nots. I think this would fix everything, don't you?

October 10, 2011 at 2:09 p.m.
terrybham said...

Every undemocratic government throughout the world knows that it is essential that you deny citizens the right to vote. When you look at this story that way, this action by the Republicans makes perfect sense. To put it bluntly; the GOP does not believe in nor encourage democracy. This is a fact-you can argue the point but the facts are the facts.

October 10, 2011 at 2:11 p.m.
muddawber said...

What does moving the drivers license station to Red Bank have to do with anything. The drivers license station is a part of the state, not the city.

October 10, 2011 at 2:18 p.m.
lightkeeper said...

bigguy I didnt say anything about getting drivers liscense, I said drivers liscense station, that meant photo ID,that MS Cooper was denied. Make sure you comprehend what your reading before makeing responses and make yourself look ignorant

October 10, 2011 at 2:21 p.m.
bigguy said...

@lightkeeper - Even after re-reading your first post, I still did not find where YOU had mentioned an ID card. Can you please show me where YOU said that in your first post? Also, grammatical errors can give you less effect.

October 10, 2011 at 2:40 p.m.
John_Proctor said...

Bigguy @2:09 asked "Why do you need a driver's license if you ride the bus?" This is also for Muddawber.

Because the greatest number of people needing a picture ID for voting purposes will be those who are most likely to utilize public transportation due to their economic status. What you see as a simple transfer from one physical location to another works a real hardship on a resident of the JayCee Towers complex or public housing on the other side of town or Cromwell Road from the new location.

There is no CARTA service to this new location and that service is essential to a lot of those most likely to need a picture ID for voting purposes. You can draw your own conclusions as to whether or not it's part of a larger drive to suppress voting among populations more likely to vote Democratic. I've drawn mine.

October 10, 2011 at 2:47 p.m.
lightkeeper said...

TO bigguy errors or not, this article is about suppressing minority voting rights, I shouldn't have to spell it out. I hope your not that ignorant. Sounds like your just nit picking because I STRUCK A NERVE, the truth hurts.

October 10, 2011 at 2:58 p.m.
Legend said...

Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons said Friday that Cooper's attempt to get a photo ID was mishandled

The question should be just how many other Mrs. Coopers this has happened to? Whose experience didn't get into the spotlight? Will this confusion and mishandling continue? Even in its early stages this law is doing exactly what it was designed to do. Frustrate and confuse the voter and those issuing the voter I.D. cards. At least confuse and frustrate until the elections are over. Then when the right people get into office, they can change the laws that will affect voters rights for another half century and more.

October 10, 2011 at 3:31 p.m.
sandyonsignal said...

Bigguy, in order to vote, one needs a photo ID, and it is not being done at election commissions, instead it is at the DMV. Many rural areas have no DMV, so this is a hardship for them to make it all the way into Chattanooga and wait several hours only to be sent home because you didn't bring some obscure document like a marriage certificate. What's wrong with using a social security card? Social security knows the name was changed.

October 10, 2011 at 3:32 p.m.
muddawber said...

@John_Proctor.. I understand about the hardship of getting to the drivers license station, but the way I was reading that post, is that Chattanooga was being blamed for the move to Red Bank. Since drivers license is a state issue, isn't it the state who moved the station and not the city?

October 10, 2011 at 4:06 p.m.
John_Proctor said...

@muddawber: I don't know for sure but I think that you are correct.

The station is operated by our bureaucratic masters in Nashville (Department of Safety?) so I am assuming (and you know the old saying about that word) that it was a state level decision. If the state made the decision, then you can rest assured that making voting more difficult for a targeted population that would have access or transportation problems was a factor in the decision.

October 10, 2011 at 4:28 p.m.
riverman said...

That's about all the Dems have to run on. They have to make a supreme effort to make sure the poor and stupid vote, otherwise they would go the way of the Whigs.

October 10, 2011 at 5:15 p.m.
XGSBoss said...

Wow, just WOW. Do you dare say the poor and stupid have no right to vote?

Oh, I get it, that's what they told you at the precinct when you tried to vote and they sent you away. Much like now, buh-bye troll.

October 10, 2011 at 5:19 p.m.
riverman said...

I will be happy to compare my IQ and annual income to any parasite Democrat on this board.

October 10, 2011 at 5:39 p.m.
XGSBoss said...

Gee brainiac, why don't we just whip them out while were at it. You are a joke and have too much growing and learning to go before I could stoop to the river's level.

October 10, 2011 at 5:42 p.m.
lightkeeper said...

Well riverman judging by your idiotic comment, I dont know about your income, but you certainly don't have much of an IQ, you just proved that, with that type of statement. Your river is polluted with bias, and prejudice, thanks for proving our point even more.

October 10, 2011 at 6:17 p.m.
riverman said...

For all you bedwetters, poor and stupid people are parasites living off of the work of producers in this country. I agree with Neal Boortz who supports the lottery because it is a tax on poor people and they dont pay enough taxes.

October 10, 2011 at 8:15 p.m.
purplelaw said...

Although it is difficult to get a state issued id or drivers license, it would appear that the problems encountered here are not from the voter ID law, but rather a result of Homeland Security regulations. People encounter the same problems getting a drivers license or ID whether they are voting or not. If you believe that your civil rights have been violated consult an attorney

October 10, 2011 at 8:27 p.m.
headcoconut said...

purplelaw, the problem with consulting an attorney is that most of those affected can't afford to and probably wouldn't even consider such a move. That's the purpose of this law and who it was meant to target. In the past fear tactics, threats and other means were used to guarantee certain segments of the population would not vote. The only difference now is they're just trying to appear more classy and technical, but the threat remains clear and obvious.

October 10, 2011 at 9:55 p.m.
LibDem said...

hambone, your position regarding poll worker fraud is undeniable; however, you're unlikely to get any attention. We all know that tens of thousands of illegals, fearing detention and deportation, line up at the polls. What could be safer?

October 11, 2011 at 7:33 a.m.
headcoconut said...

riverman said... For all you bedwetters, poor and stupid people are parasites living off of the work of producers in this country. I agree with Neal Boortz who supports the lottery because it is a tax on poor people and they dont pay enough taxes.

Don't confuse the poor with the wealthy and wealthiest in America. Remember the words of Leona Helmsley? Only poor people pay taxes?

October 11, 2011 at 10:14 a.m.
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