Having once been denied the right to vote, I am particularly sensitive when legislators restrict access to the ballot box. Tennessee's photo ID law, enacted last year, is a blatant attack on the right of every adult citizen to cast a ballot. Supporters justified the measure as a means to prevent voter fraud, a rare occurrence in Tennessee.
In 1964, my wife and I moved from Baltimore to Nashville to begin my medical internship at Vanderbilt. The Davidson County registrar would not permit us to register to vote, stating that we were students (I had graduated from medical school, and we were in our mid-20s) and, thus, not entitled to participate in elections. We had neither the resources nor the time to challenge her ruling. The issue took some years to resolve.