TN voter ID law upheld but state to appeal ruling - WSMV News 4

TN voter ID law upheld but state to appeal ruling

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Tennessee election officials are going to ask the state Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that upholds the new photo identification requirement for voting but orders them to accept an ID issued by the Memphis public library.

The Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the law was constitutional but it also said the library card qualified as a government-issued photo ID.

Secretary of State Tre Hargett praised much of the ruling but said an appeal will be filed Friday to contest the library photo ID provision.

"We're kind of changing the rules of the game during the game," Hargett said.

The secretary of state fears the ruling could open up a floodgate of challenges.

"If someone shows up with a Memphis library card, they will be allowed to vote," he said.

The city of Memphis and two voters who lacked photo ID and cast provisional ballots during the August primary sued to stop the law. Hargett said the appeal filing will stay the order that election officials accept the library card.

"We're not having a lot folks show up with these Memphis cards anyway. We're having folks show up with the proper ID," Hargett said.

Hargett added of the 725,000 people who've cast early votes only 67 were given provisional ballots for lack of proper ID. Twenty-nine of those have already been resolved, and officials worry the amendment to the law will only cost the state in the end.

"This creates some problems for us as far as training pollsters," Hargett said. "We invested a tremendous amount of time sending out a number of pieces of literature in newspapers all across the state talking about what the proper ID is, so it's very difficult for us to change the rules in the middle of the game anyway."

Hargett plans to file a Rule 11 appeal with the Tennessee Supreme Court early Friday, which would basically prompt a stay in the appeals court's Thursday ruling.

For now, Hargett said if someone in Memphis goes to the polls with their library card, they will be given a provisional ballot.

That ballot will be placed in an envelope marked "Library Identification" to await the state Supreme Court's ruling.

Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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