by Steven Hale
The state's Department of Safety and Homeland Security has announced that it will open eight driver service centers on the first Saturday of October and November to give voters "additional opportunities" to get a photo ID and avoid being turned away at the polls come this fall's general elections.
We talk quite a bit here about the sleazy side of the voter ID wave and plan to continue doing so. But here the state is offering voters a helping hand, to assist them in getting over the hurdle the state placed in front of the ballot. So consider this a Public Service Announcement — if you possibly can, go get a photo ID.
The department's press release, with addresses of the eight driver centers that will be open, is after the jump:
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security today announced that it will open eight of its driver service centers on the first Saturday of October and November to give citizens additional opportunities to obtain photo identification in order to vote in the upcoming state and federal general election. The centers were chosen based on the size of the populations they serve and the response from citizens to centers that were opened on Saturdays before the primary election.
A new state law effective this year requires citizens to present a federal or state-issued photo ID to vote at the polls. The law also requires the Department of Safety and Homeland Security to issue photo IDs for voting purposes at no charge.
As of September 6, 2012, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security had issued 22,355 photo IDs for voting purposes. The vast majority (20,967) of those issued were non-photo driver licenses converted into photo driver licenses, while 1,388 were original photo identification cards.
“Any citizen who needs a photo ID for voting purposes may obtain one at no charge by visiting any of our 51 driver service centers during normal business hours. As an added service, we are again opening certain centers for special Saturday hours to make sure everyone has an opportunity to get a photo ID,” Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons said.
“Once again, the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security is demonstrating its strong commitment to helping Tennesseans get the proper identification needed to vote. We are pleased to continue to partner with Commissioner Gibbons and his colleagues in their efforts to encourage civic participation,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said.
The eight driver service centers will be open from 8:00 a.m. — 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 6 and Saturday, November 3. The centers will issue voter photo IDs and convert non-photo driver licenses into photo driver licenses only. No other services will be available during these special hours.
The following driver service centers will provide this special Saturday service:
6604 Centennial Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37209
6502 Bonny Oaks Drive
Chattanooga, TN 37416
7320 Region Lane
Knoxville, TN 37914
100 Benchmark Circle
Jackson, TN 38301
4600 Jefferson Ave.
Cookeville, TN 38506
3200 East Shelby Drive
Memphis, TN 38118
4717 Lake Park Drive
Johnson City, TN 37615
8598 Highway 22
Dresden, TN 38225
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 Melissa Long at 865-712-4908 (east Tennessee contact) or Rochelle Bryant at 931-242-7282 (west Tennessee contact).
For more information on the new voter photo ID law, including acceptable forms of photo identification and documents needed to obtain a photo ID for voting purposes, please visit the Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s website at www.tn.gov/safety.