Harwell Says Cooper and Durbin ‘Trample on State’s Rights’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — State House Speaker Beth Harwell is hitting back at congressional Democrats who criticized a new Tennessee law requiring a photo ID to vote.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois joined U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper in his Nashville district on Monday to raise concerns that the photo ID law could hamper ballot access.
Harwell, a Nashville Republican, in a statement Tuesday said the two Democrats should focus on pressing federal issues and not “come to Tennessee to trample on states’ rights.”
The state estimates 126,000 registered voters don’t have current driver’s licenses with photos on them. But the Secretary of State’s office stresses that expired driver’s licenses will qualify, as well as a slew of other government issued IDs, ranging from federal Veteran Identification Cards to state handgun carry permits.

Note: Harwell’s full statement is below.

News release from House Speaker Beth Harwell’s office:
(NASHVILLE, September 13, 2011) – Speaker Beth Harwell on Tuesday reiterated the importance of the new law passed by the Tennessee General Assembly that requires photo identification to vote, after Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin joined with Congressman Jim Cooper to criticize the law.
“The Tennessee legislature passed this law to ensure fair elections which are a cornerstone of democracy. Legitimate votes are cancelled out when fraud occurs, and it the state’s responsibility to prevent voter fraud. I commend the General Assembly for taking seriously the state’s responsibility of securing our ballot box. We could only hope that Congress would be this serious about securing our borders,” said Harwell.
“I would suggest to our federal officials that they get their own house in order first. In an era of rising deficits, ballooning debt, and bloated federal government in Washington Dick Durbin and Jim Cooper have chosen to ignore those problems and come to Tennessee to trample on states’ rights. No wonder Congress has an 82 percent disapproval rating. Congressman Cooper has assumed the Washington mentality of not respecting states’ rights.
“The Tennessee General Assembly has balanced a budget, kept taxes low, and protected our elections. We are doing just fine without Washington’s help,” Harwell concluded.

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