published Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Tennessee touts last Saturday to get free voter ID

IF YOU GO

Driver Safety Centers will be open 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday solely to make photo IDs for registered voters.

Hamilton County Driver Safety Centers

6502 Bonny Oaks Drive, Chattanooga

4873 Dayton Blvd., Red Bank

Bradley County Driver Safety Center

301 James Asbury Drive NW, Cleveland


QUALIFIED VOTER ID

• Tennessee or state driver's license with photo

• Federal government-issued ID, including passports and military ID

• State-issued ID, except university-issued student ID

Voters have one last shot at getting a photo ID on Saturday, three days before they go to the polls for the Super Tuesday primaries.

Officials representing the Tennessee Department of Safety and secretary of state came to Chattanooga on Thursday to issue a final reminder that voters must have a qualified ID when they arrive at their polling place.

The Tennessee General Assembly passed a law last year requiring photo IDs to vote. Tuesday's election will be the first test of the new law.

The state originally estimated that 126,000 Tennesseans had driver's licenses with no photo, which is not required for those 60 and older.

Larry Godwin, the department of safety's deputy commissioner, said Thursday that the state has issued more than 17,000 photo IDs for voting. Of those, all but 868 were photo upgrades for those with nonphoto IDs, he said.

Hamilton County Clerk Bill Knowles' office has issued 230 of the photo upgrades.

"Many of those have other forms of ID; they just didn't know they could use that," Godwin said.

State Driver Safety Centers are on alert to expect a possible influx of people Saturday seeking the photo upgrades or voter IDs before Tuesday's election, Godwin said.

Those who show up at the polls Tuesday without qualified ID may cast a provisional ballot and return to the county Election Commission within 48 hours with a photo ID to make sure the ballot counts.

About 201,000 people statewide cast ballots during early voting. Of those, only 46 showed up without qualified ID, said Beth Henry-Robertson, the state's assistant coordinator of elections.

about Ansley Haman...

Ansley Haman covers Hamilton County government. A native of Spring City, Tenn., she grew up reading the Chattanooga Times and Chattanooga Free Press, which sparked her passion for journalism. Ansley's happy to be home after a decade of adventures in more than 20 countries and 40 states. She gathered stories while living, working and studying in Swansea, Wales, Cape Town, South Africa, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Knoxville, Tenn. Along the way, she interned for ...

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