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This week marks the 47th anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act, which outlawed discrimination in voting and has been instrumental in ensuring that citizens’ rights are protected from nefarious election laws.
In Tennessee and other states, we have seen laws enacted that have the potential to undermine this vital protection. An estimated 11 percent of the population do not have the type of identification required.
Especially impacted are the elderly, people with disabilities, low-income voters and young people.
These new voting laws and requirements are unnecessary and costly. Numerous studies have found that voting irregularities are rare.
Almost none are the kind that could be prevented by photo identification, and putting new voting laws and requirements in place is expensive.
As of January 2012, voters in Tennessee must present a government-issued photo ID at the polling place. Citizens who do not have such an ID must go to a full-service driver’s license center to obtain one. However, only 42 of Tennessee’s 95 counties have such a center.
The League of Women Voters of Tennessee opposed the photo ID legislation but, as of now, the law is in effect.
We urge everyone to visit Vote411.org for election information and to share it with family and friends so that all can vote in November.
The right of citizens to vote is vital to our democratic republic, and this election is important.
We are voting not only for the office of president but for education, health care and the future of our community.
Norman Mulvenon, Anne Adamson Co-presidents of the League of
Women Voters of Oak Ridge