(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) said today he was pleased but not surprised by the Tennessee Supreme Court decision upholding the state’s voter ID law. Ketron, who sponsored the legislation which implemented the law, said the state’s Constitution and federal decisions on the matter clearly showed lawmakers had the right to protect the integrity of elections in the state.
“Yesterday, the State Supreme Court agreed that Tennessee has the right to guard against voter fraud and to secure the freedom of elections and the purity of the ballot box,” said Ketron. “We are not surprised by this decision. Our State Constitution gives us the duty and right to protect the integrity of our elections and the courts have repeatedly ruled to uphold voter ID as a reasonable means in which to do this.”
The State Supreme Court ruling follows a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2008 which determined photo identification “is amply justified by the valid interest in protecting the integrity and reliability of the electoral process.”
In its decision, the Tennessee Supreme Court found “no basis for invalidating the Act on constitutional grounds.” It also rendered moot all issues pertaining to the validity of the photo ID cards issued by the Memphis Library. The General Assembly voted earlier this year to clarify that locally-issued photo library cards are not allowed under Tennessee’s voter ID law. The legislation cleared up any confusion regarding the use of municipal library cards that were not supposed to be allowed under the original law passed in 2011.
“It should not be easier to board a plane, cash a check, or buy cigarettes or beer than to vote in Tennessee,” Ketron added. “Our right to vote is one of the most sacred symbols of our freedoms. The state’s highest court’s decision, like the earlier decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, supports that effort,” he concluded.