MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The polls were mobbed. The last day of early voting brought folks out from all over Memphis. Every one of them had to provide a legal form of identification such as a driver’s license, a state identification car, or a Memphis Library Photo ID card.
The State Supreme Court ruled early Thursday morning that the library cards could be used. BOOYAH Memphis. “Voting ought to be easy,” says Memphis City Attorney Herman Morris. "It ought to be accessible. This card makes it a little bit more accessible for voters who don’t live near one of the other state of Tennessee outposts.”
The Tennessee voter identification law requires people to show some type of state issued picture identification. A drivers license, an ID card, a fishing license from another state. All of those forms of identification work just fine. Memphis city officials thought their library cards would work because, after all, they were originally planned to be used as identification for a lot of things. “This was born out of a desire to make it easier to get utilities connected and reconnected,” according to Memphis Mayor A C Wharton. “As we were working on it, I said wait a minute, let’s do it right so it can serve more purposes.”
Two federal courts and one state court said the Photo ID Library Cards didn’t cut the legal mustard. Last week, however, the Tennessee Appeals Court ruled they were just fine and dandy. In spite of that ruling, voters in Memphis were given provisional paper ballots if they presented the library card at the polls. Those provisional ballots are a thing of the past, now that the Supreme Court has agreed and said the library cards are good.
State Representative G.A. Hardaway (D-Memphis) predicts legislators will get back to work in January and try to revise the law so library cards can’t be used. Of course, it is unconstitutional for the state to pass any law that only affects one county. Memphis is the only city in Tennessee where picture identification library cards can be used for voting.
If you were given a provisional ballot because you used a library card as an ID there is no need to return to the polls. Your vote will be counted, according to Shelby County Election Commission Chairman Robert Myers.
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton will vote on Tuesday, and he might not be using the library card. “I lost mine,” the Mayor admitted. “I would love to know where it is.”