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

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

September 22nd, 2011 by Ansley Haman in News

County Clerk Bill Knowles listens to a question from the audience during Wednesday's Hamilton County Commission meeting.

Photo by Jake Daniels/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.

Connect with the Times Free Press on Facebook