Thursday, March 5, 2009

Voter ID Diminishes Civil Rights

SB0150 was proposed in the Senate by State Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro), and if passed, it would require all Tennessee residents to have an acceptable photo ID in order to be permitted to vote in any Tennessee election.

The 14th Amendment of the US Constitution states:

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

The problem with the Voter ID bill is that it could deny the legal right to vote to persons who do not have a photo ID. There is nothing in the Constitution requiring citizens to have photo ID.

But in 2008, the US Supreme Court upheld an Indiana law passed in 2005 which required all voters to have photo ID in order to vote. Justices Alito, Scalia, and Thomas said that "its overall burden is minimal and justified" and Justices Stevens, Roberts, and Kennedy said that the law might be overturned if "a plaintiff could show that his or her rights had been violated" by the law.

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