Voter ID law enjoys overwhelming popularity in Tennessee

Voter ID law enjoys overwhelming popularity in Tennessee

March 20th, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

Opponents of Tennessee's commonsense law requiring that voters present legitimate photo identification at the ballot box have tried to portray the law as sharply dividing public opinion and creating needless strife.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

Amid all the baseless accusations that the photo ID law was designed as a sneaky way to disenfranchise the elderly or minorities or the poor, Middle Tennessee State University conducted an opinion poll that included a question about the law.

As reported by Nashville's Tennessean newspaper, the poll found that 82 percent of state residents believe the law is "a good idea that should be kept in place." By contrast, only 11 percent think the law is "a bad idea that should be done away with." The other 7 percent weren't sure.

While there are certainly some individuals who oppose the photo ID law, it seems rather obvious that the overwhelming majority of Tennesseans consider the law a sensible precaution against fraud at the ballot box -- and do not buy the claim that it robs some groups of Tennesseans of their legitimate right to vote.

That confidence in the law is justified. The legislation rightly included a number of safeguards meant to keep voting a simple process and not to burden those who are lawfully seeking to exercise their voting rights.

Among other things, voters can obtain a free, state-issued identification card valid for voting. They also may cast provisional ballots on Election Day if they happen to forget their ID. Then they need only present their ID later to have their ballots counted.

With those sorts of protections in place, it is absurd to suggest that Tennessee's photo ID law is an effort to suppress the vote. State lawmakers were wise to enact the law, and it should remain in place.