Archive for the ‘fair elections’ Category

New Voter Photo ID Law- Trick or Treat?

Monday, June 13th, 2011

The Tennessee legislature recently passed legislation requiring a government issued photo ID before being allowed to vote. Some critics say it is another attempt to discourage predominately Democratic oriented citizens from exercising their vote at the polls. Is this a trick or might it be a treat? It can be a treat if Dems strategize and work in advance to get all potential Democratic voters fully prepared to be allowed to vote. If Republicans fail to do the same, this could be turned to a strategic advantage for Democrats.

Thanks to Millard Garland and Wayne Smith, we have a summary of the legislation; it is as follows:
-Requires a voter to produce a government issued photo ID before being allowed to vote.

-Exempts those voting by absentee, hospitalized, and in a licensed nursing home.

-If  no photo identification, the voter will vote a provisional ballot except in case of indigent or those who have a religious objection. The voter must sign an oath stating he or she is indigent or an oath stating a religious objection to being photographed. After signing the oath, the voter will vote on the machines.

-Counting of provisional votes is changed from forty-eight hours to four business days following Election Day (extension may be granted by Coordinator of Elections, but no later than the second Monday following an election).

-If no photo ID and voter cast a provisional ballot, the voter has two business days to return to the election commission office or place designated by election commission to show a valid photo ID- must sign affidavit and AOE must copy photo ID for records and counting board.

-If rejected must notify voter by mailand reason why rejected.

-Valid photo ID includes a Tennessee drivers license, US passport, Department of Safety photo ID card, state or federal employee photo identification card, photo ID card issued by federal government or other state, US military photo ID.

-College photo ID is not a valid ID for voting purposes.

-Applies to early voting and Election Day.

Effective January1, 2012

It is our understanding that local Department of Safety Driver’s License offices will be issuing photo ID’s that are non-driver’s license related. We understand there will not be a fee for this service. It will be important for us to identify all persons who we know that will need to obtain a Department of Safety photo ID card, assist and encourage them in getting a card for themselves, and having them fully prepared to exercise their right to vote. Let’s turn the tables on Republican efforts to hamper Democrats from voting.

Tenn. Republicans Resisting Third Party Access

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Some Tennessee Republicans are showing that the only ideas they want to hear are their own.

Take for instance, the legislative proposal — ordered by a federal court — to give third parties easier access to Tennessee ballots.

In every sense, a third party adds to the free marketplace of ideas in an open society. But Republican House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick of Chattanooga is not interested in shopping around for the best ideas.

From The AP:

House Majority Leader Rep. McCormick of Chattanooga

“I don’t want to see us become like Italy and have a dozen different parties and all these splinter groups, and have to make coalitions with them,” said McCormick.

Heavens to Betsy! Working with “different parties?” Having to “make coalitions with them?!” That would just be awful.

The Knoxville News Sentinel says it more eloquently:

A vast majority of American voters cast their ballots for one of two parties, not only recently but going all the way back to the Federalists and the Jeffersonian Republicans in the early days of presidential politics.

But third parties – the generic name given to political parties opposing Democrats and Republicans – deserve to have their names on the ballot and try to win public approval.

The state Legislature has an opportunity to make that happen this term, and that should be one of its accomplishments when the session ends.

Third parties have provided a colorful and thoughtful element to American politics, although none in modern times has been able to displace either of the top two. Nevertheless, there is always that possibility in an open and free society.

Sen. Kyle: "Democracy works better when the rules are fair."

Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle of Memphis has also spoken in favor of third party access to Tennessee ballots. He suggests 10,000 signatures from eligible voters should be enough to get your preferred party on the ticket.

“My goal is to allow people who believe they’re in the Tea Party or the Green Party or the Libertarian Party to get on the ballot,” Kyle said. “Any organization that can get 10,000 signatures is as legitimate a political entity as any other. People should be able to stand up there and say I believe in these principles. I just think democracy works better when the rules are fair.”

Well said, Sen. Kyle. Well said.