|Decision to vote early in elections requires new photo IDs for many |
|Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2012 9:01 pm |
| By KATIE DONALDSON |
The decision to participate in early voting required a 98-year-old Union City resident to go to the Department of Safety and Homeland Security Driver Service Center in Union City Wednesday to take a photo for his driver’s license.
John Lovelace posed for a photo on his driver’s license for voting Wednesday and joined many other citizens who must either get a government-issued photo ID to vote at the polls or sign up for an absentee ballot.
The law requiring citizens to present a photo ID at voting polls went into effect Jan. 1.
For the past few elections, Lovelace voted by absentee ballot, but this time he got his photo ID and went to vote in person.
Most people have a driver’s license, but many older citizens no longer have a photo on their licenses. According to driver’s license examiner Shavaunne Adams, drivers age 60 and older have the option to get non-photo licenses.
“We tell them you can’t do very much without a photo,” Adams said about the option.
Some people still choose to renew their licenses without a photo despite how it affects their voter eligibility. Others would rather have the ID.
“I figured he needed a picture ID for so many things,” Nancy Durham, daughter of John Lovelace, said after taking him to get his photo Wednesday.
Registered voters who do have a photo ID can receive it free of charge at Driver Service Centers set up across the state. Citizens who have a driver’s license without a photo need to bring only their license to receive a photo ID.
Those without licenses must bring some proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate and two proofs of Tennessee residency, such as a utility bill, vehicle registration or bank statement.
The voter must also fill out part of a driver’s application and a voter affadavit stating the photo ID is needed for voting purposes. After that, the center simply needs to snap a picture.
“It’s just waiting to get in,” Ms. Durham said while waiting for her father’s number to be called to have his photo taken.
The ease of getting a photo ID seems to be working. The number of absentee ballots has not increased drastically and voting has gone smoothly. The election office has seen 342 early voters and only 42 absentee ballots.
“We haven’t had any issues with it this time,” election administrator Leigh Schlager said.
Early voting ends July 28. Anyone may vote early at the election office, located at 308 Bill Burnett Circle in Union City.
For more information, contact the office at 885-1901 or visit the website www.GoVoteTN.com.
The Union City Driver Service Center is located at 1604B West Reelfoot Ave. and is open Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. To contact the center, call 884-2133.
Editor’s note: Katie Donaldson, daughter of Jim and Cindy Donaldson, is a rising senior at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
Published in The Messenger 7.19.12