published Sunday, December 4th, 2011

Driver centers issue photo IDs


by Andrew Pantazi
Palestine Murray gets her voter ID Saturday at the Tennessee Department of Safety.
Palestine Murray gets her voter ID Saturday at the Tennessee Department of Safety.
Photo by Angela Lewis.

A man walked into a building off Bonny Oaks Drive, turned in his driver’s license, took off his fake Ray-Ban Wayfarer eyeglasses and New York Yankees ball cap and had his picture taken.

Antonio Brown hasn’t missed an election since he was 18, and he wasn’t about to miss the 2012 season either.

When he heard that Tennessee had passed a law requiring a picture ID to vote, he thought it was a good idea. “It’s fair for everybody,” he said.

So when the 27-year-old heard that some driver’s license centers would be open the first Saturday of every month to issues photo IDs, he decided he needed to come as soon as he could. He didn’t want to wait until later to qualify to vote.

“It’s important,” he said.

While Brown showed up at the driver’s license center at 6502 Bonny Oaks Drive about 2:30 p.m. Saturday, most of the people who received new licenses that day had come in the morning.

Department of Safety District Supervisor Caroline Walker said most of the people receiving new licenses are elderly, and the elderly, she said, tend to wake up early. As of 2:30 p.m., she said 66 people had received a new license.

Four cars were already at the office when it opened at 8:30 a.m., Walker said.

“Trust me,” Walker said, “the only way they won’t be here is the weather.”

The driver’s license centers in Red Bank and in Cleveland, Tenn., also were open Saturday.

Across the state, centers in 19 counties will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the first Saturday of every month through March to provide voters with photo IDs.

about Andrew Pantazi...

Andrew Pantazi is an intern at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who says that when he was 7 he knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life: play hockey for the Colorado Avalanche. Unfortunately, he says he wasn't any good at hockey, so he became a journalist instead. He writes about the lives we hide, like the man who suffered a stroke but smiled, or the football walk-on who endured 5 ...

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