Judge Refuses to Block TN Photo ID Law

A Nashville judge declined Wednesday to block enforcement of the state’s voter-photo identification law or to allow the Memphis Public Library’s new photo library cards to be valid for voting purposes.
From the Commercial Appeal:
In declining to issue temporary or permanent injunctions sought by the plaintiffs, Davidson County Chancellor Carol McCoy ruled against efforts by the City of Memphis and two Memphis registered voters to either overturn the state law as an unconstitutional infringement on the right to vote, delay its enforcement until all qualified voters who want them can obtain valid photo IDs, or allow the library cards to be acceptable for voting.
Testimony in Wednesday’s three-hour hearing indicated there are still more than 90,000 registered voters in the state who have non-photo state-issued ID driver’s licenses that won’t be valid for voting, plus “tens of thousands more” — no one knows for sure how many — registered voters without a valid photo ID and who are not in the state’s photo ID database.
Attorneys for the City of Memphis said during the hearing that the losing side would appeal. But afterward, they said they’ll wait until McCoy issues her written order — finalizing the oral ruling she made after a three-hour hearing — before they decide whether to seek an expedited appeal. “We’ll have to discuss it with our clients. We would like to appeal,” said Nashville attorney George Barrett, representing the city.
“I’m very disappointed. Anytime the state infringes on the right to vote, they’re taking something away from us, and they’re taking something away from us in this instance. Let’s not fool around; everybody knows what’s going on. You have to have your head in the sand if you don’t. It’s been going on all over the country since 2010. To play like it’s something innocent to protect the ballot is nonsense.”
During his court arguments, Barrett’s co-counsel, Douglas Johnston, told the judge that photo ID requirements for voting have been enacted across the country in the last two years “because in 2008, African-Americans and young people and poor people came out in droves to vote. These are the people who these laws most impact.”
McCoy ruled that none of the three plaintiffs had standing to challenge the state statute in court because the city has no right to vote and therefore cannot “assert it has been harmed” by the act. She said evidence presented indicated that co-plaintiff Daphne Turner-Golden can vote; “all she has to do is obtain a photo ID at no charge, while plaintiff Sullistine Bell can either vote absentee without a photo ID or obtain one.

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