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By HAYLEY HARMON6 News Anchor/Reporter
KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Tennessee voters in the upcoming November election will be required to have a photo ID with them when they cast their ballots.
A new photo ID law implemented this year in the state applies to early voting and on election day.
A local organization held a rally Saturday day in downtown Knoxville to protest the new law, saying it discourages certain people from voting.
The Greater Knoxville MoveOn Council unrolled a petition on Gay Street. It contained thousands of signatures and stretched a full block.
The organization is calling for the photo ID law to be repealed and the petition shows they have a lot of support.
"Since we posted this petition online, we've had over 6000 people sign it in protest of the voter ID laws," said Jennifer Wallis, of the Greater Knoxville MoveOn Council.
The law took effect January 1, 2012. It says all voters must present identification containing their name and photograph when voting at the polls.
The group says that requirement is unfair.
"A lot of people don't have the mobility or the money necessary to get to the one office in Knox County that can issue a valid state photographic ID," said Lisa Huff, one of the protesters.
Some say they are not against requiring a photo ID, they just think access to getting an ID is too difficult for some people, like the elderly.
"The sacrifice of veterans to preserve our democracy should not be diminished by laws that unfairly limited voters access to the ballot," said Huff.
"You will have to make all these different trips just to go to the (Department of Motor Vehicles) to go sit and wait and then get a picture on your photo ID," said Wallis.
The group added more signatures to the petition as people passed by.
"I think that the new law is causing people to be disenfranchised. I think our democracy should be more inclusive, not less inclusive," said Leonard Evans, of Knoxville.
Evans said he had to get a new photo ID this year so he could vote.
"Other people older, with some disabilities, I think they would have a problem getting the photo ID," said Evans.
The group will be taking this petition to the Knox County Election Commission next week.
On October 8th, they'll be delivering it to state lawmakers in Nashville.
They say by then, they hope to have upwards of 10,000 signatures.
A number of people are exempt from the law, including those who are hospitalized or have a religious objection to being photographed.
For a full list of the acceptable forms of voting ID under the new Tennessee law, as well as a list of people who are exempt from the law, visit http://www.tn.gov/sos/election/photoID.htm.
For more information on the Greater Knoxville MoveOn Council, visit https://www.facebook.com/GreaterKnoxProgressiveMoveOn.