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Regional & National

Tenn. man had to pay for photo ID to vote

October 26th, 2011 12:58 pm by Staff Report

MURFREESBORO (AP) — A Murfreesboro man had to pay $8 to get a photo ID in order to be eligible to vote under a new state voting law. The law allows residents over 60 without a photo ID to get one for free.

Darwin Spinks, an 86-year-old retired print shop worker, told The Daily News Journal (http://on.dnj.com/sHndHd) he visited the driver's license testing center a month ago to get an ID because his current license does not have a photo. State law allows people over 60 to get a license without a photo.

Spinks said he told the license center workers that he wanted an ID to vote. He was sent to get his picture taken and was charged.

"I said, 'You mean I've got to pay again?' She says, 'Yes,'" said Spinks.

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security estimates there are 126,000 registered voters over the age of 60 who don't have photos on their licenses. They are allowed under the law passed by the General Assembly this spring to get a new license with a photo free of charge.

"If he came in for a photo ID for voting purposes, he should not have been charged," said Jennifer Donnals, a safety department spokeswoman.

Donnals said they checked his application Tuesday and found that he had not signed a required affidavit that states he does not have a valid government-issued photo ID for voting purposes.

She said the department will send him the affidavit and when he sends it back signed, the department can refund his money.

Donnals said voters looking for photo IDs for voting are to be placed in an express category at the driver service centers, but there could be some wait time.

"We have trained all driver license examiners on the photo ID law and procedures associated with issuing photo IDs for voting purposes," she said. "However, this is a new law, and there will be some issues that happen along the way. We are doing all we can to efficiently issue photo IDs to those who need them for voting purposes."

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Information from: The Daily News Journal, http://www.dnj.com

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