MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Third time's the charm. Memphis is hoping the old adage proves true in its court battle to undo Tennessee’s voter ID law after federal judges ruled against it in two other proceedings.
The city filed a federal lawsuit to strike down the legislation. Republicans back the law, saying it's necessary to crack down on voter fraud. Opponents say it unfairly keeps thousands from voting.
Memphis tweaked its lawsuit and is now issuing a direct challenge to Tennessee’s Voter ID law.
The city added two elderly women as plaintiffs to this lawsuit. One of them says obtaining photo identification to vote is time consuming and costly. A judge will decide if that is legitimate barrier in keeping people from voting.
City Attorney Herman Morris explains why this go round over the photo ID law could be different from the others.
“It's a barrier, it's an impediment to the exercise of the Constitutional rights so we're confident we'll be able to get this judge or the next judge or the next judge to see the light,” Morris said.
According to the Constitution there are only four requirements to vote in Tennessee: one has to be a registered voter, be at least 18 years old, be a resident of the state and a U.S. citizen.
Having a photo ID to vote is not one of them.
“Anything that stands between the voter, even one voter in the exercise of that right is wrong,” Morris said.
Morris contends that if Tennessee has a right to require an ID to vote, those ID's should be free.
“You can't have a situation where a voter has a constitutional right to vote is told well you can't vote unless you have a photo ID but the government hasn't provided you free of cost, just as it provides you free of cost a vote,” Morris said.
Critics say if photo identification is necessary for banking, employment, and travel, then it should be required to vote.
In July Memphis introduced new photo library cards that would double as ID's to get around the legislation. Last week, a judge ruled the city's card cannot be used to vote.
The city attorney asked the court to expedite a decision on this issue, in hopes it will be settled before the presidential election in November.