Thrown in jail for knowing the voter ID laws in Tennessee? Maybe not, but just as bad is how many will just walk out the door without voting if someone with “authority” says “You can either give me what I told you to, or you can just get out that door and find someplace else to vote!”?

BradBlog has the full story of Missouri Election Integrity Activist, Phil Lindsey, of, the victim of needless intimidation and unlawful disenfranchisement, who was arrested for having the right form of ID while attempting to vote in his state’s primary on Tuesday:

This story is unfrickin’-believable. Or maybe it isn’t. It took place in Thor Hearne country, after all. And though she didn’t get arrested and thrown in jail, a similar incident happened to the Missouri Secretary of State during the 2006 election.

A voter in Kansas City on Tuesday — one I happen to know, because he’s an Election Integrity advocate in the Show Me State — was arrested and sent to jail after he refused to show a driver’s license at the polling place before attempting to vote during the state’s Primary Election.

As user “galloglas,” Phil posted the unnerving details at

Or course, the official charge couldn’t be, “He knew what kind of ID he needed to vote legally,” so they slapped him with “disturbance/disorderly conduct…acts in a violent or tumultuous manner toward another, placing such person(s) in fear of safety by refusing to show proper I.D. when voting.”

Also over at BradBlog, links to local news coverage of the incident and similar stories experienced by the Missouri Secretary of State and Brad’s dad – two very nice people.

“Show-me” State Missouri needs a new slogan: The “Show-Me the ID I want Regardless of the Law or Get Thrown in the Hoosegow” State. Wordy, I know, but if the slogan fits…

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Election Day Tidbit: Tennessee Voter ID Requirements

A conversation with Honey this morning reminded me of something – sometimes people working our elections don’t know the rules. For instance, as he was running around looking for his voter registration card this morning I reminded him that he didn’t need it to vote in Tennessee. He said, “Well, I’ve been asked for it before and I want to be prepared.”

To be clear, here are the ID rules for voting in Tennessee.

Note the fine print:The requirements described apply ONLY to FIRST TIME VOTERS WHO REGISTERED BY MAIL. All other persons who registered to vote in person or have voted before must only present evidence of their signature or sign an Affidavit of Identity.

Tennessee Voter ID Requirements

(Click to Enlarge)

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Voter Confidence Act Passes House 88 to 6

Thanks to your emails and phone calls, Representative Gary Moore’s HB 1256, the Voter Confidence Act, passed on the floor of the Tennessee State House today 88 to 6. Thanks also to all the bill’s co-sponsors – Rep. Janis Sontany, Rep. Mike Turner, Rep. Sherry Jones, Rep. Brenda Gilmore, Rep. Ben West, Rep. Mary Pruitt, Rep. Jim Coley, Rep. Hardaway, and Rep. Joanne Favors. Props also to Bernie Ellis, Deborah Narrigan, Martha Wetteman, Dick Williams, Thelma Kidd, and Alma Sanford, and all at Gathering to Save our Democracy*. They’ve been working since 2006 for this and even though there is one more hurdle to jump – it has to pass in the Tennessee State Senate this week as well – they should be given a standing ovation.

Again, it still has to pass in the Senate so it’s time to get on the phone one more time. You can find your State Senator here. Once again, the message is: “I am counting on you to vote in favor of SB 1363, the Voter Confidence Act, when it comes to the floor for a vote.”

Dear Senator ______________,

I am a constituent of yours, and I would like to ask you to vote in favor of SB 1363, the Voter Confidence Act. It is expected to be ready for a floor vote in the next few days. If passed, this bill will ensure that we vote on durable paper ballots that are tallied by an optical scanner, and retained in a locked ballot box. These paper ballots also become the ballot of record in case a recount is necessary.

This new system will replace the touchscreen electronic voting machines, offering us verifiable ballots, no long lines at the polls, and a system that is less expensive for counties to use.

The cost of changing our voting equipment will be met with federal funds already held by our state.

I look forward to your voting YES to SB 1363. Thank you for your attention to my views on this critical issue.

Phone Number

Go Senate!

It also might be nice to drop a quick note to your representative thanking them for their vote!

*Not to mention Jim Jones out in Williamson County, Jane Hardy, Lynn Williams, Shannon Williford, Linden Williford, Ann Williford, Holly Quick, Joe Irrera, Phil Scoggins, Elizabeth Barker, Chick Westover, Barbara Jones, Joyce Kisner, Mary Louise Linn, and Dave Thomas.

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Today is The Most Important Day Ever for Paper Ballots in Tennessee

HB 1256/SB 1363, Tennessee’s Voter Confidence Act, goes to a full floor vote in the House on Tuesday, May 13. In the Senate it has one more committee (Finance Ways & Means) hoop to jump through today, Monday, May 12. Senate F, W & M members are:

Randy McNally, Chair; Douglas Henry, Vice-Chair; Tim Burchett, Secretary; Diane Black, Raymond Finney, Joe Haynes, Rosalind Kurita, Jim Kyle, Mark Norris, Bo Watson and John Wilder.

Please don’t hesitate. Call them now. The bill states:

SECTION 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the “Tennessee Voter Confidence Act of 2007”.
SECTION 2. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 2, is amended by adding the following as a new, appropriately designated section:
(a)Notwithstanding any other provision of state law to the contrary and consistent with federal law, any voting system purchased or leased with federal, state or local funds shall provide that the ballot of record shall be a paper ballot marked by the voter, with appropriate accommodation for persons with disabilities. Such ballot shall be available for the voter to verify such voter’s vote before having it counted and retained by the election officials. The system shall maintain the secrecy of the voter’s choices and the ballots of record shall be used in any recounts, contests, or random samplings for accuracy.
(b) The secretary of state and the state election commission are authorized, with the various county election commissions, to implement the provisions of this section for any new purchases after the effective date of this act. In addition, they are authorized to expedite the replacement or modification of any systems that are not in compliance with this section as soon as practical. Federal “Help America Vote Act” funds previously allocated, or any similar funds allocated in the future shall be used to the extent such funds are eligible.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law, the public welfare requiring

Also, NOW is also the time for you to phone or email (preferably both), your state Representative and Senator. You can find phone number and email address information here. If you send an email, make sure you put your zip code in the subject line with a reference to the bill number and name (Voter Confidence Act).

The message is, “I am counting on you to vote in favor of HB 1256 / SB 1363, the Voter Confidence Act, when it comes to the floor for a vote.”

Dear Representative (or Senator) ______________,

I am a constituent of yours, and I would like to ask you to vote in favor of HB 1256/SB 1363, the Voter Confidence Act. It is expected to be ready for a floor vote in the next few days. If passed, this bill will ensure that we vote on durable paper ballots that are tallied by an optical scanner, and retained in a locked ballot box. These paper ballots also become the ballot of record in case a recount is necessary.

This new system will replace the touchscreen electronic voting machines, offering us verifiable ballots, no long lines at the polls, and a system that is less expensive for counties to use.

The cost of changing our voting equipment will be met with federal funds already held by our state.

I look forward to your voting YES to HB 1256/SB 1363. Thank you for your attention to my views on this critical issue.

Phone Number

We are so close to no longer being one of 6 states at “High” risk for continued voting machine mishaps. This bill does not guarantee a change by this November, however, the Governor still have time to issue a mandate. When in doubt, go low-tech.

UPDATE: The bill made it out of the Senate Finance Ways & Means committee. Woohoo!

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You Can Lead a Nun to a Polling Place, But You Can’t Let Her Vote

Way to prevent voter fraud, U.S. Supreme Court! Someone with the intials S-C-A-L-I-A is going to a very hot place when he dies. Really. Taking away what could be the last pleasurable act of participatory democracy from a 98-year-old nun? Tsk, tsk, tsk.

About 12 Indiana nuns were turned away Tuesday from a polling place by a fellow bride of Christ because they didn’t have state or federal identification bearing a photograph

Sister Julie McGuire said she was forced to turn away her fellow sisters at Saint Mary’s Convent in South Bend, across the street from the University of Notre Dame, because they had been told earlier that they would need such an ID to vote.

The nuns, all in their 80s or 90s, didn’t get one but came to the precinct anyway.

“One came down this morning, and she was 98, and she said, ‘I don’t want to go do that,’” Sister McGuire said. Some showed up with outdated passports. None of them drives.

They weren’t given provisional ballots because it would be impossible to get them to a motor vehicle branch and back in the 10-day time frame allotted by the law, Sister McGuire said. “You have to remember that some of these ladies don’t walk well. They’re in wheelchairs or on walkers or electric carts.”

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Tell Them You Want to Vote on Paper in Tennessee in November

Tennessee is one of 6 states at “High” risk for voting machine mishaps come November. Can we change that? Yes, we can!

From VoteSafeTN:

We’re close to achieving verifiable elections in Tennessee! We finally have the money, and we have time to switch to paper ballots for this year’s general election. All the pieces are in place. What we need now is to get the paper ballot bill – Voter Confidence Act – out of committee and onto the floor of the legislature to be voted into law. Currently, the bill is in the House Budget Subcommittee. Time is short, but we can do it. Your emails have and will make the difference. Please write today; our Legislators will HEAR you. Thank you so much.

What you can do right now:
Please email or call the House Budget Subcommittee members and ask them to act now, and pass the bill, so it will go to the full Finance Committee. If any of the committee members are your Representative, please let them know and include your zip code in the subject line and your address in the body. The bill, HB 1256, will be heard in committee starting 11:00 am, tomorrow, Wednesday, April 30:

Requires any voting system purchased after the effective date of this act to provide the ballot of record be a paper ballot marked by the voter with appropriate accommodation for persons with disabilities; requires such ballot to be available to voter to verify the vote; requires that secrecy of the voter’s choice be maintained. – Amends TCA Title 2.

House Budget Subcommittee members:

Chairperson Tindell (615-741-2031)
Phone (615) 741-2031
Phone (615) 741-0768
Phone (615) 741-3830
Phone (615) 741-2134
Phone (615) 741-7480
Phone (615) 741-0750
Phone (615) 741-4410
Phone (615) 741-0981
Phone (615) 741-2007
Phone (615) 741-2534
Phone (615) 741-4538

Get on the phone. Send an email.

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Indiana Requires Photo ID to Get Photo ID to Vote

On the front page of their website, the Indiana state government is touting National Air Quality Awareness Week. Good thing because something there sure is stinky. Without a shred of evidence of election fraud through identity manipulation in Indiana, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday to bring back the poll tax by upholding the law requiring voters there to present a valid government issue photo id:

…the court acknowledged that the record of the case contained “no evidence” of the type of voter fraud the law was ostensibly devised to detect and deter, the effort by a voter to cast a ballot in another person’s name.

Read that again. No evidence. Yet because of their ruling there is now an undue burden on the poor and elderly to vote. For them, a voter registration card is not enough. But no worries. To help the citizens of Indiana wade through the steps needed to get their government issue photo id, I present a step by step guide.

No driver’s license? No problem. Just bring your birth certificate down to the Bureau of Motor vehicles, fill out the paperwork, pay the fee, and get your id. If you don’t have wheels, take public transportation or get someone to drive you. Here’s what you need:

If you are applying for a new driver license, identification card, learner permit, or driver education permit you must visit a license branch and present the following documents:

  • One primary document
  • One secondary document; and
  • Proof of Social Security number or Social Security ineligibility; and
  • Proof of Indiana residency.


  • One primary document; and
  • Proof of Social Security number or Social Security ineligibility; and
  • Proof of Indiana residency.

Primary documents accepted include US Birth Certificate with authenticating stamp or seal containing the applicant’s date of birth, place of birth, and parent’s names issued by a county department or county board of health from the applicant’s state of birth, a state department or state board of health from the applicant’s state of birth, or a verified delayed birth certificate, Certificate of Naturalization/Citizenship, Certification of report of birth (DS-1350), U.S. consular report of birth (FS-240), Birth certificate issued by United States territories, including American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands, U.S. Veterans Universal Access Identification card with photo, U.S. Military/Merchant Marines identification card with photo, or U.S. Passport.

Don’t have the required documents like a birth certificate or social security card? No problem, just follow these instructions to get your social security replacement card:

You can replace your card for free if it is lost or stolen.

To replace a lost Social Security card:

  • Complete an Application For A Social Security Card (Form SS-5); and
  • Show us documents proving your identity.
  • Show us documents proving your U.S. citizenship if our records do not already contain that information.
  • Show us documents proving your current, lawful, work-authorized status if you are not a U.S. citizen.

In most cases, you can mail or take your application and original documents to your local Social Security office. If you live in the New York City metropolitan area, Las Vegas NV, Orlando FL, or Phoenix AZ you may need to apply in person at your local Social Security Card Center.

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies of notarized copies of documents.

To get a new birth certificate, just find out how the state in which you were born handles the replacement. Indiana, for instance, allows you to simply mail $10 in to the Vital Records department of the Indiana State Department of Health. As long as you follow this one rule:

Applicant must provide a photocopy of a valid identification with picture and signature along with the application.

Easy. HEY! Wait a minute….

In Indiana you need a valid identification with picture and signature to get the copy of the birth certificate you need to get a valid identification with picture so you can vote? Yo Scalia, chew on that.

No money to a pay for either a copy of your birth certificate – which, did I mention, you can’t get without a valid picture id? – or the government issue photo id? No problem, just go down to your county’s election commission, and fill out the paperwork to get your certificate of indigency. I’m not sure what documentation you need to prove indigency – probably a valid photo id – but nevertheless, once you have it then you can use it to get all the documentation you need to get the valid photo id without having to pay for it all.

If you can’t afford the time away from work for all these trips back and forth to these agencies, or the time on the phone it takes to sort it all out, then you can use your computer like I did to go online to find out what you need to do. See, it’s easy!*

UPDATE: If you are over 65 in Indiana, you can get, without a birth certificate, a plain ID card instead of a Driver’s license. Sweet! From the site:

Identification card applicants who are 65 years or older, and can attest that they have never been issued a birth certificate because their birth was never recorded with a state office of vital statistics, may present other forms of identification as a primary document of identification, along with the necessary secondary document of identification, for an Indiana identification card.

Individuals who are 65 years or older may present, as primary documents:

  • Medicaid/Medicare card
  • Social Security benefits statement
  • Property deed
  • Property tax statement
  • Bank statement
  • US Veteran’s Access Photo ID card
  • Marriage/divorce decree
  • Pension statement

Please note that secondary documents, and other documents proving residency, are still required for most transactions. Please view our full identification requirements list to determine whether you have sufficient documentation.

Identification card applicants who are younger than 65 years of age and who do not have an original copy of their birth certificate should bring another document from the primary group of identification documents or contact the health department or department of vital statistics in their county or state of birth to obtain a new copy of their original birth certificate.

To be accepted by the BMV, a birth certificate must be an original copy with a raised seal issued by the health department or department of vital statistics in the applicant’s county or state of birth. Birth certificates issued by hospitals or other organizations will not be accepted.

UPDATE II: Brad Friedman has a step by step guide at I bet he’s tired too.

*I need a nap.

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Unrecountable, Unverifiable, Unauditable and Unbelieveable

From Brad Blog:

This Tuesday’s crucial contest will be primarily run on 100% faith-based, touch-screen e-voting machines across the state. There will be no way to determine after the election whether the computers have accurately recorded, or not, the intent of those voters who voted on them. As summarizes the crucial contest, it “will be essentially unrecountable, unverifiable, and unauditable.”

How is this still possible? Forget flag pins and guilt by association, why aren’t the American people and both candidates screaming about this from the rooftops?!? We won’t trust machines to run our lotteries but we’ll trust them to handle our elections?

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Yesterday in Washington, the Holt bill (HR 5036) – which would authorize reimbursement for states and counties that convert to paper ballot voting machines before the November elections or help pay for manual audits after the election – was added to the congressional calendar used for non-controversial measures. And then prompted objected to by the Bush administration and defeated along party lines. Apparently, free and fair elections in this country are controversial:

“…the Administration opposes the bill’s authorization of excessive spending for reimbursement to States for the costs of obtaining paper ballot voting systems and conducting audits or hand counting of election results….”

Excessive spending? Really?!? How much is too much to have verifiable elections in this country? Please add this to my list of bitter-worthy Bush administration manufactured realities. Rep. Holt responsed, “I note that many people who opposed this legislation supported spending almost $330 million in recent years to provide election assistance in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. I would have hoped those who supported efforts to export democracy abroad would be equally committed to strengthening democracy here at home.”

You can hope, Mr. Holt, but remember, these are the same bunch who believe that supporting the troops means preventing wounded ex-soldiers living in VA facilities from registering to vote because “voter registration is a ‘partisan distraction’ that would detract VA staff from their mission of caring for sick ex-soldiers.” Actually, it’s who you vote for that’s partisan. And secret. Allowing those who served their country to register to vote is the most non-partisan, and the very least, we can do.

Luckily, we have at least one presidential candidate who has not only called out the new VA Secretary, General James Peake, on his bizarre anti-participatory democracy, anti-American rationalization but has also demanded, in tandem, a full accounting of “wounded, injured and medically evacuated troops when discussing the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Not sure why, though, we expect them to count the votes of our wounded vets when we can’t even get them to count as one of the terrible costs of war. Blood and treasure, indeed.

“President Bush announced tonight that he believes in democracy and that democracy can exist in Iraq. They can have a strong economy, they can have a good health care plan, and they can have a free and fair voting. Iraq? We can’t even get this in Florida.” — Jay Leno

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First The Onion, Then the Tears

“Embarrassed Diebold officials apologized after one of their electronic voting machines prematurely revealed the winner of our upcoming sham election.”

To you, funny. To me, less.

Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early

(Hat Tip: Mark Crispin Miller)

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