Department of Safety and Homeland Security Announces More Options for Voters to Get Photo IDsWednesday, October 12, 2011 | 02:59 pm
County Clerk Partners, Saturday Driver Service Center Hours Will Increase Accessibility
NASHVILLE --- Commissioner Bill Gibbons announced Wednesday that the Department of Safety and Homeland Security is making more options available for registered voters to get photo driver licenses or identification cards for voting purposes. Under a new state law, starting in 2012 voters will have to show a state or federal issued photo ID to cast a ballot at the polls in Tennessee.
Commissioner Gibbons announced an agreement with 30 county clerks across the state to issue photo driver licenses at no charge to registered voters who currently have non-photo driver licenses. These county clerks are existing partners with the Department and currently issue renewal and duplicate driver licenses and identification cards to Tennessee residents. Under the new agreement, the county clerks will waive the $4 service fee they normally charge for providing this service. County clerks have agreed to provide this service starting October 17 and will continue through March 12, a week after the presidential primary election.
“This greatly increases the number of locations where registered voters may get photos added to their driver licenses at no charge. It is a simple process, and thanks to our county clerk partners, voters will have more places across the state to obtain photo driver licenses,” Gibbons said.
Gibbons also announced that starting in November, driver service centers will be open on the first Saturday of each the month in 15 counties. The centers will be open during normal business hours, from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., to make photo driver licenses or IDs for voting purposes only. No other business will be conducted in the centers on Saturdays.
“The Department of Safety and Homeland Security is to be commended for reaching out to county clerks across our state, making it easier for people to obtain free photo IDs they can use to vote. Requiring photo IDs at the polls is one important way we can help ensure the integrity of elections in Tennessee. At the same time, it’s important that we make it as convenient as possible for people to obtain valid photo IDs if they don’t already have them,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett.
The Division of Elections reports there are approximately 126,000 registered voters who have non-photo driver licenses in Tennessee. Drivers age 60 or older may choose to get a non-photo driver license in Tennessee.
"We are pleased that Gov. Haslam, Commissioner Gibbons, Secretary Hargett, and county officials throughout Tennessee are working hard to ensure that Tennesseans can continue to exercise their right to vote after the new law goes into effect," said Rebecca Kelly, AARP Tennessee State Director.
Of the 30 counties where clerks have agreed to provide this service, 21 are in counties without state driver service centers. A list of participating counties is attached.
In total, there will be 83 locations in 61 counties, including county clerk offices and driver service centers, where voters can convert non-photo driver licenses to photo licenses at no charge. Voters currently without a driver license may go to any of the 49 driver service centers in 42 counties to obtain photo IDs at no charge.
“We are committed to doing what we can to make these IDs accessible to voters who need them. That includes altering employees’ schedules in order to be open on Saturdays in some locations,” said Lori Bullard, Assistant Commissioner of Driver Services.
Driver service centers will be open on Saturdays in the following counties: Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Shelby, Sullivan, Sumner, Rutherford, Washington, Williamson, Montgomery, Blount, Bradley, Putnam, Greene, and Carter. In Shelby County, this includes the two full-service driver service centers in Memphis, located on Summer Avenue and East Shelby Drive. In Davidson County, this includes the two full-service centers on Centennial Boulevard and Hart Lane.
To minimize the possibility of wait times during Saturday hours, groups or organizations planning to make a group visit to a driver service center should schedule an appointment by calling Linda Cone at 731-225-0924 or Wanda Adams at 615-251-5309.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s (www.TN.Gov/safety) mission is to ensure the safety and general welfare of the public. The department encompasses the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Office of Homeland Security and Driver License Services. General areas of responsibility include law enforcement, safety education, motorist services and terrorism prevention.
|County Clerk Partners (PDF)||101.12 KB|