Library card as voter identification debate heats up - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Library card as voter identification debate heats up

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The Shelby County Democratic Party declared opposition to the state's voter photo identification law that was passed in January 2012. The Shelby County Democratic Party declared opposition to the state's voter photo identification law that was passed in January 2012.
Mayor Wharton recently unveiled new city library cards with a photo  ID so they could be used to vote. Mayor Wharton recently unveiled new city library cards with a photo ID so they could be used to vote.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) – The controversy over whether a library identification card can be used as a voter ID continues.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton caused a firestorm when he told the public they can use them even after the state said they are not valid.

The Shelby County Democratic Party declared opposition to the state's voter photo identification law that was passed in January 2012.

"We should be encouraging everyone to vote and to eliminate any barriers to vote," said David Cotton, a lawyer.

"More than 300,000 Tennesseans lack required voter ID's and could be turned away at the polls as a result of the voter ID law," said Kenneth Anderson, a lawyer.

A week ago, Mayor Wharton unveiled new city library cards with a photo ID so they could be used to vote.

But the Shelby County Election commission will not accept them because they are not a valid state or federal issued identification.

Though the Shelby County Democratic Party argues otherwise.

"The program is a good program. We feel it follows the law. The law says it must be a state issued ID. The library is a state supported institution," said Van Turner.

State Republican party chair Chris Devaney argues that claims that the voter ID law disenfranchises the elderly, minorities, and the youth, are baseless.

"It does not put anybody out of place in terms of voting. They can file a provisional ballot. Nobody will be turned away at the voting place," he said.

Devaney said he has no official stance on the library cards but his counterparts in Memphis plan to take the fight to court if necessary.

"If the election commission decides they're not going to honor the city's library cards, I suspect we'll be involved in litigation," he said.

The voter ID law is in effect.

While the Democratic party supports the library cards, they do suggest getting a driver's license or other state issued form of identification if possible.

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