Add Mrs. Virginia Lasater, a 91-year-old woman in Rutherford County, to the list of known Tennessee seniors who are struggling to comply with state Sen. Bill Ketron’s new Republican voter ID law.
Mrs. Lasater went to a driver testing center in Mufreesboro to get a state-issued photo ID so she could vote, but ran into a problem. From The Daily News Journal1:
Aided by a walking cane to get around, she quickly decided she couldn’t stand up long enough to wait and her son could find no chairs available for her to sit. (Her son) Richard estimated at least 100 people were in the building, and workers were “way overworked and way understaffed.” He was told at the help desk there was nothing they could do but wait.
They left, upset about the law and the long lines.
“I’m just afraid people will say it’s too much trouble,” said Mrs. Lasater.
With Republican plans on the table to gut Medicare and privatize Social Security, it’s not a wonder why Republicans are making it harder for senior citizens to be voters.
This past legislative session, Tennessee Republicans passed a voter ID law—written by big, corporate specials interests—that requires all voters to have a government-issued photo ID at the polls.
The law sounds reasonable on its face. But there’s a huge problem: 675,000 Tennesseans, who, like Mrs. Lasater, are law-abiding citizens and eligible to vote—have no state-issued photo ID.
This law was passed in a hasty manner with insufficient funding and absolutely no mechanism in place to efficiently educate voters and distribute hundreds of thousands of state-issued photo IDs.
With only 19 weeks until the Primary Election, we’re running out of time. Since July, according to the article, the state has only issued 561 new voter IDs.
It’s almost guaranteed that some citizens who have voted for years without a problem will be turned away in next year’s elections when the discriminatory law goes into effect.
Would it bother Sen. Ketron if the votes of law-abiding citizens like 91-year-old Mrs. Virginia Lasater were not counted because they couldn’t wait in an hours-long line for a state-issued picture ID?
Ketron said, “NO… I’m not that concerned about it.”2
This is the difference.
The Tennessee Democratic Party won’t stop fighting until every law-abiding Tennessean can be a voter and participate in this democracy. Republicans like Bill Ketron, well, they just aren’t that concerned about it.
If you have a problem getting a state-issued photo ID, we want to help. Click here to share your Voter ID Story.
Your fellow Democrat,
on behalf of YOUR Tennessee Democratic Party
1. “After long wait, no seat , voter, 91, quits on ID,” The Daily News Journal.
2. Ketron says he’s not concerned about uncounted votes. The Daily News Journal.