Harwell criticizes Durbin, says state has the right to require photo IDs of Tennessee voters

Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 5:52pm

State House Speaker Beth Harwell shot back at Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin Tuesday for criticizing Republicans in the Tennessee legislature for requiring photo ID for voters beginning with next year’s elections.

Joined by Congressman Jim Cooper in a visit to Nashville on Monday, Durbin, the U.S. Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, accused Republicans of trying to disenfranchise the poor, minorities, the elderly and other traditional Democratic constituencies by making it more difficult to vote.

“I would suggest to our federal elected officials that they get their own house in order first,” Harwell said in a statement. “In an era of rising deficits, ballooning debt, and bloated federal government in Washington, Dick Durbin and Jim Cooper have chosen to ignore those problems and come to Tennessee to trample on states’ rights. No wonder Congress has an 82 percent disapproval rating. Congressman Cooper has assumed the Washington mentality of not respecting states’ rights.

“The Tennessee General Assembly has balanced a budget, kept taxes low and protected our elections. We are doing just fine without Washington’s help,” she said.

Republicans contend the photo ID law is needed to combat voter fraud, and Harwell repeated this claim in her statement. But in an interview Tuesday, state Elections Coordinator Mark Goins could name only one confirmed instance in Tennessee of voter impersonation — the act that photo IDs presumably are intended to stop.

Goins added, however, that without photo IDs, officials could not tell whether someone was trying to vote illegally by posing as an eligible voter.

“It’s like this: How do you know someone’s speeding if you don’t have a radar gun? We haven’t had a mechanism to detect it,” Goins said.

Goins pointed out voters can use expired driver’s licenses with pictures and expired military ID as well as handgun carry permits. The state is offering free photo IDs at its driver service centers if residents certify they’re going to vote. 

Filed under: City News

44 Comments on this post:

By: serr8d on 9/13/11 at 7:17

Why is it only Democrats want to turn a blind eye to possible voter fraud, to in effect encourage said fraud to occur? Why is it you must have a photo ID to accomplish so much in today's world (buy cigarettes or alcohol, fly in a plane, drive of course, cash a check or anything involving real money) but Democrats want to allow crooks and cheats to vote?

Democrats should be ashamed of the obvious fact that they have learned how to raid the Treasury, to loot monies from the public coffers then turn around and offer those monies to moochers in turn for their votes.

I don't think our new far-Left-ideologically Social Democrats have the best interest of this Republic front and center in their heads.

By: yogiman on 9/13/11 at 8:39

If Mr. Dumbun had anything between his eyes in that thick skull he would look at his own state. Tennessee is none of his damn business.

And with Jim Cooper "joining" him, the people of his district should look very closely at what they have in that office "representing" them. Think about this little episode next year, folks.

By: govskeptic on 9/14/11 at 6:34

As a Cooper supporter I'm very surprised at this Durbin appearance in Nashville!
Was this an issue being pushed by the Liberal Sen. and wanted Cooper to
have this meeting, or did Cooper want to publicize the issue and very mistakenly
invite the Senator down for support? Either way it appears not to have been
taken very well by the citizens and voters in Middle Tenn., and rightfully so.

By: Jagman on 9/14/11 at 7:10

Picture IDs need to be required. The problem is that a lot of "Seniors" don't have a picture on their drivers license; the reason being is they have to pay for the picture. I cannot understand why this is so. Seniors should have a picture on their license at no cost.

By: Rocket99 on 9/14/11 at 7:26

I find Ms. Harwell very hypocritical in her responnse. She's basically saying the Feds shouldn't do to the states what the states did to Metro. I know one is voter IDs and the other is discrimination but, it's the same type of thing.

Doesn't mean I like Mr Durbin. Just calling a spade a spade.

By: dan3843 on 9/14/11 at 7:27

If government can demand by law that people have insurance then I see no difference between that and demanding a photo ID to vote.

By: nash615 on 9/14/11 at 7:30

While such a law *might* have prevented some of the rampant voter fraud in recent local races (e.g., Buddy Baker's District 20 Council campaign), this law is nothing more than modern Jim Crow.

Republicans are out in support because their base is racist. Maybe we can get a package deal on a law requiring minstrel shows at the polls for entertainment!

"We sho got us a nice votin' booth heya boss! Shame I cain't neva vote no mo!"

By: global_citizen on 9/14/11 at 8:14

I've been voting in Nashville for 20 years and every single time I've been asked to show an ID. I don't know why this is required in some places and not others, but frankly I don't see the problem.

This tired old canard that those who want to require a voter's ID are trying to disenfranchise certain voters is silly. And it looks petty. It makes Democrats look foolish. No one wants to keep your grandma from voting, Dick.

By: Charlie Sommers. on 9/14/11 at 8:21

"But in an interview Tuesday, state Elections Coordinator Mark Goins could name only one confirmed instance in Tennessee of voter impersonation — the act that photo IDs presumably are intended to stop."

Taking the above quote into consideration it seems to me that in a state that is having problems with its educational system, a state where some children still go to bed hungry at night, a state where mentally unstable military veterans sleep under bridges at night, the legislature could find something more productive to do with its time. There is no reason to fix a problem that you don't have.

By: govskeptic on 9/14/11 at 8:21

Jagman:
You're wrong on the Seniors having to pay more for photo on driver's license. They
are allowed to omit photo as a courtesy to age or modesty, so I guess the thing
for state to do is stop allowing that absence of photo on the license. Most of
these objections are pretty useless and not a great problem for 99.5% of voters!

By: marymancini on 9/14/11 at 8:38

Seniors who have been voting for years w/out a photo ID are now required to have one. Many seniors do not drive - they rely on public transportation & will need to take public transportation to get to the DMV to get their new photo ID. Nashville is fourth worst for seniors accessing public transportation. And we haven't even discussed seniors living in rural areas of TN where the nearest DMV is two counties away.

Nashville fourth worst for seniors accessing mass transit
http://nashvillecitypaper.com/content/city-news/report-nashville-fourth-worst-seniors-accessing-mass-transit

Another thing to consider: In Tennessee, if you are over 60 state law says you can choose to get your drivers license renewed without a picture. Many have chosen this option and will now need to go back to the DMV that is two counties away and get a new license made with a photo on it.

By: yogiman on 9/14/11 at 9:06

You're right govskeptic,

I'm 81 years old and I still have a picture on my license. They ask us "old timers" if we want to keep our picture on our license. They'll leave it on or remove it.

By: Nitzche on 9/14/11 at 9:10

hey DICK....shut up!

By: BenDover on 9/14/11 at 9:13

NY 9 --- a Bellwether of 2012 in more ways than one.

http://tinyurl.com/6k3axr9

By: pswindle on 9/14/11 at 9:33

If we wanted a clean election, the GOP would have voted to have a paper trail to verify each vote. But the GOP killed this law, before it could take affect.

By: global_citizen on 9/14/11 at 9:44

Charlie Sommers

"There is no reason to fix a problem that you don't have."

I think you completely missed the point of the snippet you quoted because you failed to read on and see the context.

If you have no way to gauge a problem, there's no way to know you have a problem. That doesn't mean a problem doesn't exist.

If I put electrical tape over the oil light on my dashboard, it doesn't fix a problem with my oil pump. It just puts the problem out of view.

By: yogiman on 9/14/11 at 10:24

I don't know if it would work, but wouldn't it be a better voting method today if it was done by computer? Couldn't all votes be placed in one file on the "master" computer?

I read where a woman retired from the ACORN gang and stated she had voted at 10 different voting booths in the last election. And I heard about one of my "neighbors" voting in three different locations.

Hell, you only have to go to register to vote and "tell" them your address. Do you have to prove it?

There's a lot of excellent liars in our country.

By: d-boy on 9/14/11 at 10:36

"'The Tennessee General Assembly has balanced a budget, kept taxes low and protected our elections. We are doing just fine without Washington’s help,' she said."

She has a selective or very short memory. The only way Tennessee balances its budget is by the use of federal money the state receives ("Washington's help").

By: wretchasketch on 9/14/11 at 11:45

>>Republicans are out in support because their base is racist. Maybe we can get a package deal on a law requiring minstrel shows at the polls for entertainment!

"We sho got us a nice votin' booth heya boss! Shame I cain't neva vote no mo!"<<

So, why don't you think black people can get picture ID's? Is there something about that particular race that prohibits them from figuring out how to get one? Unless you think there is something superior about one race that they can get a photo ID and something inferior about another race that they can't, what would be racist about it?

By: rbull on 9/14/11 at 11:47

I don't have a picture on my driver's license and don't plan to get one either, so don't guess i will vote again in any election. I don't have the time to get one and will vote abseentee and you don't have to have a damn picture for that. To Hell with the Republicans. They are afraid the Mexicans, Latinos are going to be voting and you can rest assured they will vote for the Democrats, which is their right.

By: yogiman on 9/14/11 at 11:52

d-boy,

That "federal" money the states receives dates back to when the "socialist" government began taking hold. Its like robbing Peter to pay Paul.

It began with the federal income tax from all of the people. It is then divided back to the states by distributing a "share" back to each state.

Until the 17th Amendment was passed giving the senators the right to being elected by the people instead of being appointed by the state legislatures, the states had more control over the federal government than the federal government did over the states..

I believe we need to repeal that 17th Amendment and get our states' rights back.

By: jonw on 9/14/11 at 11:56

- - - - "accused Republicans of trying to disenfranchise the poor, minorities, the elderly and other traditional Democratic constituencies by making it more difficult to vote."

****

I wasn't aware that all those years I voted Democrat, I fit one of the above profiles. Oh well, I saw the light & mended my voting ways in my later years.

By: yogiman on 9/14/11 at 11:57

rbull,

If you don't vote, you have no right to gripe when someone gets elected into an office against your "approval", like Barry Soetoro (unless he was your choice.)

By: AthensSouth on 9/14/11 at 12:46

When it is convenient, everyone turns a 'blind eye' to the past. Prior to my coming of age to vote, my grandfather said this was standard procedure: proving who you say you are by ID only issued by a State you lived in, if you could afford the price charged for the ID.

This was, of course, prior to the Civil Rights era, but it seems so directed toward that goal, again.

Wonder if the next Bill Rep. Maggart and House Speaker Harwell will support will require memorizing and reciting the Bill of Rights prior to being allowed to vote? That is the next step in "selective" voting rights.

By: gofer on 9/14/11 at 3:51

Apparently it's the dems that are racist, since they think minorities, for some reason, aren't capable of getting a picture ID or don't drive or just don't know how to get one. They do think they are ignorant, because Holder's justice dept. stopped a small town in N.C. from taking the party association off the ballot.....the reason was that if there wasn't Democrat after the name, the black community wouldn't know who to vote for.....now tell me if that isn't racist. As for the poor, show me one "poor" person who doesn't have a photo ID or can't get one. They don't care about seniors either, since they tend to vote Republican. In Georgia, they couldn't produce ONE single person....not one! There is only one reason that they fight this so intensely....voter fraud.

The excuse that people just don't want to spend the time to get one is ridiculous. Anybody that won't do that doesn't need to vote anyway, because obviously they wouldn't have the time to go vote and voting isn't very important to them.

They can't produce one good reason to not have photo ID. Anybody remember the Memphis Ford elections??

As for Durbin coming here, it's an INSULT. Apparently us poor ignorant Southerners need help to understand why voter fraud is so important and who better to educate us than a N.Yorker who understands it's importance in tight races.

The ELDERLY, the POOR, and MINORITIES, never buy alcoholic beverages, they never cash a check, they never drive, they never have picked up perscription medicine for somebody, they have never applied for govt. assistance, etc., etc.........ALL requiring a PHOTO ID.

Stop the charade and just say it disrupts our cheating or produce ONE person who is not capable of getting one........

By: gofer on 9/14/11 at 3:54

PS. NOT having a PHOTO ID makes if "more difficult" to purchase alcohol IF you aren't supposed to purchase alcohol and this applies to Durbin's statement about voting. It only makes it more difficult IF you are trying to CHEAT.

By: yogiman on 9/14/11 at 4:57

That must be why Dumbun is coming to Tennessee: So he can "teach" the dumb democrats how to steal an election (I'm sorry, I meant vote in an election).

By: pswindle on 9/14/11 at 6:45

How I miss the good ole boys of the past. They had the best interest of al the people in Tennessee when l;aws were made. Beth and her group are the most selfish people that I have heard of or read about.

By: yogiman on 9/14/11 at 9:06

The "good ole boys" and the good ole days are both, things of the past,pswindle. Guvmunt done took ova.

By: Radix on 9/15/11 at 8:36

So we have a Senator from one of the most notoriously politically corrupt states in the country lecturing another state on how to have secure elections?! Wow...

Durbin... fighting for the rights of cheaters everywhere. Keep up the good work, Dick.

By: Radix on 9/15/11 at 8:43

Rocket99,

I've never heard the phrase "Cities' Rights", however States' Rights are protected in the constitution.

By: zebrotha on 9/15/11 at 9:10

Racist, schamist...The only demographic affected by voter ID laws will be
"undocumented Democrats," as conservatives are now calling _illegal_ immigrants.

Amusing that liberals think Democrat Party-profitable executive refusal to enforce congressional law is a big political benefit, when it is a process able to slowly relegate congressional power, issue by issue, to complete irrelevancy. That is a perfect path to a dictatorship, and is used by both parties, neither of which are anything but power mad and money hungry.

Actually, I think liberals would prefer a dictator; certainly all there is to quasi-religious liberal doctrine, is that all socio-economic problems are caused by too much freedom for working people to control their own paychecks, which results in not enough power and money for politician-deities to create the liberal doctrine promised paradise. Liberals are perfect little totalitarian patsies, eager to believe anyone promising that celestial glory will be theirs, if only they will support tax sucking political elites able to confiscate whatever they need, to control everything they want.

By: TimSkow on 9/15/11 at 12:57

Tim Skow

Only 4 words are needed to explain to Mr. Durbin and Mr Cooper the need for the legislation that Speaker Harwell was rightfully defending.

"State Senator Ophelia Ford"

Had the current legislation been in place, Ms Ford's "election" -- that brought forth an FBI investigation, and temporarily affected the balance of power in State Senate --would have never become such an eye-sore in TN political history. In fact, the case can be made that it was that "election" that prompted this legislation!

Sorry, DEMs.. but the days of dead people voting for your candidates are now over.

By: yogiman on 9/15/11 at 2:26

Hopefully, Tim,

Too bad the nation didn't have that law in effect in 2008 when Barry Soetoro usurped the office with all of those dead votes.

I know, he's gong by the name 'Barack Obama' now, but he was last officially known as Barry Soetoro.

I just red in my local paper about the law going into effect Jan 2012. It lists your driver's license, pass port, U.S. Military ID and a state issued hand gun permit. Now, that's the simplest one to get... and never leave home without it. He probably also got all of the ones Ophelia got.

By: yogiman on 9/15/11 at 2:37

Another issue comes up on the voter photo ID matter.

The article gives a couple of reasons why some will not be required; such as those with religious objections to being photographed, those living in nursing homes, ones hospitalized, those who are indigent and unable to pay for photo IDs.

With the photo ID now being required by law, shouldn't the government furnish the ID free... or are we going back to the old 'poll tax'?

By: d-boy on 9/15/11 at 3:36

"Too bad the nation didn't have that law in effect in 2008 when Barry Soetoro usurped the office with all of those dead votes.

"I know, he's gong by the name 'Barack Obama' now, but he was last officially known as Barry Soetoro."

yogiman, if you've got all this insider information on how Obama got 52% of the vote by stealing, you really should talk with the FBI.

As for the name thing, I guess President Leslie King, Jr., wasn't qualified to be president either. What, you never heard of him?

By: yogiman on 9/15/11 at 7:55

d-boy,

If you don't have the same information I have on Barry Soetoro, you must have been setting around with your head up your behind the past several months. I don't have any information on Barry Soetoro that wasn't also available to you and everyone else.

If you are one of those "Obama lovers" that think he is in that office legally, you should go back to school and learn what 'natural born citizen' status means. Simply being born in the US even with a Kenyan father doesn't make you natural born. It simply makes you native born citizen.

.I've never heard of Leslie King as president. President of what; that coffee shop down the road?

By: pswindle on 9/15/11 at 8:15

President Obama's mother is a natural born citizen so that makes him a natural born citizen. If he had been born in France, he would still be a natural born citizen because his mother is an Ameican. That's the law. Leslie King, Jr was his real father's name, but he took his step-father's name.: President Gerald Ford

By: yogiman on 9/15/11 at 8:39

pswindle,

Common sense would tell you a natural born citizen's parents would be citizens of the nation in which the child was born. If Barack Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961, even though his mother was an American citizen, his father was a foreign student, and with a Kenyan student as his father, the best he could have would be dual citizenship. As you should know; you get your native heritage from your father.

Now; if he was born in Kenya in 1961, at the age of 18 his mother could not pass her American citizenship on to her child which would make him a Kenyan citizen.

Tell me, do you think a baby born in the US to an illegal alien mother, who took that child home to her native land, raised the child to the age of 35: That child would then be legally eligible to return to the USA and run for the president's office? Hope he can speak English, don't you?

By: pswindle on 9/15/11 at 10:08

Go check the law. The law states that the child is a natural born citizen if born in another country if one or both of his parents are US citizens. Did you find out who Leslie King, Jr was?

By: pswindle on 9/15/11 at 10:22

Yogi,

John McCain was born in Panama to natural born US parents. So is he a natural born citizen?

By: marymancini on 9/16/11 at 8:18

To correct what has become a throwaway line - dead people didn't vote in Memphis. Election officials working the polls voted in the names of dead people who were still listed on the roll. The workers were caught and punished - jail time and a fine. The system worked.

A real solution to this problem would be to have a more efficient process for updating voter rolls.

By: veriklawes on 3/7/12 at 6:09

Thanks so much for helping me get my day going.

Washington law schools

By: edgardo3 on 8/3/12 at 6:48

Now; if he was born in Kenya in 1961, at the age of 18 his mother could not pass her American citizenship on to her child which would make him a Kenyan citizen. -Paul Perito