published Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Hours set for free voter IDs


For more information on the new voter photo ID law, including acceptable forms of photo identification and documents needed to obtain a photo ID for voting purposes, go to the department's website at

Eight state driver service centers will open on the first Saturdays of October and November to make it easier for would-be voters to get state-issued photo identification for the Nov. 6 election, according to Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security officials.

In Hamilton County, the state's driver service center at 6502 Bonny Oaks Drive will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 6 and Nov. 3.

A state law that took effect in January requires Tennessee residents to present a federal or state-issued photo ID to vote. The law also requires the Department of Safety and Homeland Security to issue photo IDs for voting purposes at no charge.

The Saturday service is only for the purpose of issuing the IDs to would-be voters. No other services will be provided. Residents can also obtain state-issued IDs for voting during regular hours on weekdays.

As of Thursday, the state had issued 22,355 photo IDs for voting purposes. The vast majority (20,967) of those issued were nonphoto driver's licenses converted into photo driver's licenses. The other 1,388 were original photo identification cards.

"Any citizen who needs a photo ID for voting purposes may obtain one at no charge by visiting any of our 51 driver service centers during normal business hours," Commissioner Bill Gibbons said in a news release.

Safety officials say that to minimize wait times during Saturday hours, groups or organizations planning to make a group visit to a driver service center should schedule an appointment by calling Melissa Long at 865-712-4908.

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