MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Smile for the camera. If you're one of the 126,000 Tennessee voters without a photo ID, you'll need to get one to vote in 2012.
A new state law goes into effect January 1st, 2012, requiring all voters to show a government-issued photo ID at the polls. November 5th was the first Saturday people in Shelby County have been able to get their pictures taken at local DMVs.
"We thought there would be a line stretched out the door and around the building," says Robert Smith.
"We started not to come for that reason," says his wife, Mattie. "But we did."
And there was no line. The Smiths were in and out of the Summer DMV in less than 30 minutes and say they actually enjoyed the visit.
"It didn't take long at all and I had fun," laughs Mattie.
The two were part of about 130 Memphians, mainly senior citizens, getting their pictures taken this weekend so they can keep voting. A new state law designed to cut down on fraud has them switching to licenses with their photos.
"Everything is different than it was when we were young," says Mattie.
Frayser resident Elsie Bonner was also updating her license. The 80 year old says she's voted for the last 60 years with just her registration card. In fact, Bonner couldn't think of an election where she hasn't voted.
"I can't remember one that I missed," she tells abc24.com.
Saturday, Bonner drove herself to the DMV so she won't miss a future election. She believes the new law is needed, but worries about other seniors.
"I'm concerned about people who can't come out here and get their photo ID," she says. "What are they doing to do if they don't have anyone to bring them?"
That's one of the reasons why the state has been trying hard to get the word out, and opening several DMVs on Saturdays.
"It's important that nobody miss out on the opportunity to vote because of a government law," says Congressman Steve Cohen. "That smacks of old Jim Crow laws and it's wrong."
Voters coming out this Saturday may not have minded the law, but as far as how happy they are with their new photos? That's an entirely different matter.
"It doesn't look as bad as my other one did," laughs Mattie.
"Don't say that about mine," says Robert. "Mine looks terrible."
"So now I have one with a picture," says Donna Etherton. "I look like a convict, but it's all right, I'll be able to vote with it."
The new IDs are free. Both the Summer and East Shelby Drive DMVs will be open normal business hours on the first Saturday of every month through March. Voters can also go to the County Clerk's office during the week.
The new law does not apply to absentee ballots or people voting at licensed nursing homes.