Tennessee AG: Voter ID requirement unconstitutional

Tennessee AG: Voter ID requirement unconstitutional

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NASHVILLE (WATE/AP) - State Attorney General Bob Cooper has issued a legal opinion that a Republican-led effort to require photo identification to vote would violate the Tennessee and U.S. constitutions.

Cooper said in the opinion released Wednesday that without a provision to supply voters with free ID cards, the measure "unduly burdens the right to vote" and would constitute a poll tax.

The Senate passed its version of the bill 21-11 in February, with only one Democrat voting for the measure.

The companion bill sponsored by House Republican Caucus Chairwoman Debra Maggart of Hendersonville is scheduled for a floor vote on Thursday.

A separate measure to provide free IDs to people who can't afford them is advancing in the Senate, but its estimated price tag is nearly $200,000 in lost state revenues.

The House Democratic Caucus released a statement Wednesday that says in part, "We have contended all along that this bill places an undue burden on those without driver licenses, particularly our senior citizens. We believe the measure is nothing short of a tax on voters."

Some portions of this report copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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