published Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Hamilton County Clerk Bill Knowles joins Tennessee's photo ID effort

  • photo
    County Clerk Bill Knowles listens to a question from the audience during Wednesday's Hamilton County Commission meeting.
    Photo by Jake Daniels /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Hamilton County soon will begin waiving its $4 fee at the courthouse for those 60 and older who want to add photos to their driver's licenses so that they can vote.

"We don't have a dog in this fight," Clerk Bill Knowles said Wednesday of the new state law requiring voters to have photo IDs to cast ballots. "We're only trying to help the Department of Safety."

About 7,000 of the county's registered voters have licenses without photos on them, Knowles said during the County Commission's regular meeting.

The clerk's office might provide a shorter alternative to the waits at the state's driver service centers, he said.

"I'm afraid that we'll be overrun, but we'll do our best," he said.

Although the clerk's office has two locations, only the courthouse one will handle photos for driver's licenses, Knowles said.

Commissioner Greg Beck asked if the clerk's office would be able to provide free photo IDs for those without licenses.

"They may not drive, but they want to vote," Beck said.

The clerk's office can only offer photos for those who already have licenses, Knowles answered.

The state will determine when the clerk's office can begin offering the upgrades.

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about Ansley Haman...

Ansley Haman covers Hamilton County government. A native of Spring City, Tenn., she grew up reading the Chattanooga Times and Chattanooga Free Press, which sparked her passion for journalism. Ansley's happy to be home after a decade of adventures in more than 20 countries and 40 states. She gathered stories while living, working and studying in Swansea, Wales, Cape Town, South Africa, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Knoxville, Tenn. Along the way, she interned for ...

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harrystatel said...

The clerk's office will be closed for two days to allow all Knowles' family members on the payroll to get theirs first.

September 22, 2011 at 7:01 a.m.
larwilb60 said...

Are the same people who are complaining about having to travel to and wait in line to get a photo ID going to also complain when they have to go to a voting precinct to vote? Voting is a right that requires a little effort on the voters part. We have had photo ID voting in Georgia for a while and it works...if you cash a check, fly on an airline, etc a photo ID is required...what is the big deal?

September 22, 2011 at 9:21 a.m.
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September 22, 2011 at 7:14 p.m.
01centare said...

larwilb60 said... We have had photo ID voting in Georgia for a while and it works...if you cash a check, fly on an airline, etc a photo ID is required

There's that lame brain excuse again, "if you cash a check." So will an ID from Western Union be acceptable? After all, Western Union issues photo IDs for the sole purpose of citizens being able to cash a check. But there's a catch. Only a specific type government photo ID will be acceptable. One of those "gotcha!" moments.

September 22, 2011 at 11:03 p.m.
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