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Elections official outlines details of voter ID law

Elections official outlines details of voter ID law
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
Leigh Schlager is spreading the message that a new state voter ID law is not very complicated.
The new voter ID law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2012, and will require voters to show photo identification before they’re allowed to vote.
Basically, photo IDs that will be accepted are those issued by the state or federal government — a driver’s license, military ID, handgun permit or a passport are a few examples of acceptable IDs.
The IDs can even be expired, according to Mrs. Schlager, who is the local administrator of elections.
She provided a detailed explanation of a new state voter ID law for a small group of people who turned out at a meeting Tuesday afternoon at the Obion County Public Library.
During the half-hour meeting, Mrs. Schlager showed a 12-minute video narrated by state Commissioner of Elections Mark Goins. He explained in detail how the new law will affect voters and went through all the acceptable forms of photo identification that will be accepted, as well as those IDs that are not acceptable.
Following the video presentation, Mrs. Schlager fielded a few questions from those who turned out at the meeting.
Of the 16 people at the library briefing, four were election officials, four were election office staff members and county commissioner Dwayne Hensley was there.
The message from Mrs. Schlager was very clear to her audience as she used several examples of how she and her staff would work with voters to make certain they understand the new law and are given every opportunity to vote in upcoming elections.
Mrs. Schlager reinforced the message from Goins’ video that anyone who doesn’t have a photo identification can get a free photo ID from the local driver’s license testing station.
“We want voters to have plenty of time to obtain a valid photo ID if they do not already possess one,” she stated in a recent news release.
She told the group Tuesday there are an estimated 126,000 Tennesseans without a valid photo ID, and it’s estimated there are about 1,000 Obion Countians without a valid photo ID.
Hensley said Tuesday he has been “bombarded with questions” about the new voter ID law. He announced at the meeting he has been stopped by between 30 and 50 people asking about the new law.
He and several others at the meeting left with handouts explaining the new law.
Anyone who was unable to attend Tuesday’s meeting and still has questions about the new voter ID law can contact the local election commission office at 885-1901.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at kmbowden@ucmessenger.com. Published in The Messenger 11.2.11

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