While Eric Holder continues to fight against efforts to stop vote fraud, such as list maintenance and Voter ID, the Tennessee Supreme Court unanimously upheld Voter ID yesterday:
Ruling on constitutional challenges to the state’s Voter Identification Act by the City of Memphis and two Shelby County voters, the Tennessee Supreme Court has unanimously declined to overturn the act.
The act, which was passed in 2011, requires voters to present government-issued photographic identification in order to cast a ballot in state or federal elections. As originally written, the act authorized several acceptable forms of identification, one of which was a valid photographic identification card issued by an entity of the State of Tennessee.
. . . In response to the new law, the City of Memphis Public Library began issuing photographic identification cards to its patrons. Shelby County residents Daphne Turner-Golden and Sullistine Bell attempted to vote in the August 2012 primary using their library cards but were turned away by election officials.
On April 23, the General Assembly amended the Voter Identification Act so that cards issued by municipal libraries were specifically excluded as valid identification. Because of the April 2013 amendments, the Supreme Court first ruled that all issues pertaining to the validity of the Memphis Public Library cards were moot. In addition, the Court ruled that the individual plaintiffs, Turner-Golden and Bell, had legal standing to challenge the act, but the City of Memphis, which obviously did not have a vote, did not. Finally, the Court held that the version of the act in effect at the time of the 2012 primary election met constitutional standards, concluding that the legislature has the prerogative to enact laws guarding against the potential risk of voter fraud and determining that the additional requirements placed on voters were not so severe as to violate protections set out in the Tennessee Constitution.Writing for the Court Chief Justice Gary R. Wade wrote:
"Protection of the integrity of the election process empowers the state to enact laws to prevent voter fraud before it occurs," Wade said. "It is within the authority of the General Assembly to guard against the risk of such fraud in this state, so long as it does not do so in an impermissibly intrusive fashion."Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett sums things up in a manner that we wish Eric Holder would listen to:
Hargett said the photo ID law is meant to be "one more tool in the toolbox" toward preventing fraud. He said the law is one of several steps his office has taken, placing it alongside efforts to prevent disenfranchised felons from voting, purges of deceased voters from rolls and checks of voter records to ensure Tennesseans do not also cast ballots in other states. "We've worked very diligently to make sure only eligible voters are on the rolls," he said.