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Our readers write

Our readers write

Posted: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 7:02 pm

Nothing free
about photo ID

To the Editor:
It has just come to my attention that if a person doesn’t have a photo ID, the law requires him or her to have an original, certified copy of their birth certificate in order to obtain the free photo ID from the Department of Safety. Sounds simple.
But if they don’t have one, it costs from $15 to $20 to get a copy of their birth certificate from the state. Being that the vast majority of folks who don’t have photo IDs are elderly, blind, or disabled in some manner — or extremely poor — they most likely aren’t going to be computer literate or have an ATM or credit card to obtain the birth certificate over the Internet. Many are going to be frustrated by trying to use the phone and having to go through multiple prompts to connect to the correct person and, even if they do, the state doesn’t take cash over the phone. So the individual’s only option will be to find someone to drive him to Nashville to get his birth certificate in person.
Then, when he finally gets that birth certificate, only 42 of Tennessee’s counties have licensing centers that can issue the photo ID. Only half the counties in West Tennessee have these centers. By my calculations, it will cost an individual from $50 to $300 to get the required paper work and cost of travel to the nearest licensing center to receive his “free” photo ID so he can vote. Is this not paramount to a hidden poll tax on these individuals?
Now my question: What are you, as a representative in Nashville, going to do to correct this problem with the photo ID so all the currently disenfranchised voters can vote in the 2012 elections?
Tim Brady
Kenton Published in The Messenger 9.28.11

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