TN appeals court to take up case on voter ID law - WSMV Channel 4

TN appeals court to take up case on voter ID law

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

With early voting getting under way in less than a week, the fate of Tennessee's voter identification law is uncertain.

Next week, the Tennessee Court of Appeals will hear a challenge to toss the new law.

However, both the state and voter ID opponents are preparing to deal with the new law in what will certainly be its biggest test so far.

In two 2012 elections, a total of 543 Tennessee voters showed up without a valid photo ID and had to cast provisional ballots.

Of those, 227 came back within the required two days and showed a valid photo ID to have their vote counted.

But the presidential election is expected to draw many voters who did not participate in the previous elections requiring ID, and people on both sides of the issue are trying to get the word out before people head to the polls.

"We're going to keep talking about it until we can't talk about it anymore," said Secretary of State Tre Hargett.

Hargett's office is still traveling around the state talking about the new law.

On the other side, voter activists who oppose the law are making photo ID a key point during their "get out the vote" campaign.

Opponents believe almost 400,000 voters might not have the correct ID they need to vote.

"There will be more people that will show up at the ballot box not having heard of the law and not understanding what it is, because it is very confusing and only a specific set of government issued IDs are allowed," said Mary Mancini, with Tennessee Citizen Action.

Voter ID laws have already been successfully challenged in states like Pennsylvania and South Carolina.

Even with the law possibly up in the air, the efforts to let people know about it are going full-steam ahead.

"One voter in that situation is one voter too many. So if it's 100 or if it's one or if it's 1,000 it doesn't matter. It is putting a barrier in front of the ballot box for that voter," Mancini said.

"We want to make sure if there is one person out there that doesn't know about it, I want to make sure we reach that person," Hargett said.

For those who still lack a valid photo ID to vote, the Department of Safety is opening eight locations across the state where people can obtain one for free the Saturday before the election.

In addition, the Secretary of State's office has established a hotline for people who might encounter issues with the photo ID law.

For more information, call 1-877-850-4959 or visit: http://www.GoVoteTN.com.

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