VOL. 127 | NO. 148 | Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Photo Library Card Suit Back In Court Tuesday
By Bill Dries
All sides in the federal court case over the city of Memphis’s photo library cards will be back in Nashville federal court ahead of schedule.
The hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Aleta Trauger that was scheduled for election day -- Thursday, Aug. 2. -- was reset for Tuesday afternoon in Nashville by Trauger when the city renewed its motion rejected by another federal judge in Nashville.
It’s not clear if Trauger will rule before Thursday’s election or take the motion under advisement and possibly try to rule on the injunction before the Nov. 6 election.
The city of Memphis contends in the lawsuit that the photo library cards the city began issuing in June are valid identification for voting under the state’s 2011 photo voter identification law. State officials contend it is not and have advised the Shelby County Election Commission not to accept the library cards as ID.
The other plaintiff in the suit, Daphne Turner-Golden, claims she tried twice to use the library card as identification during the early voting period. The first time she was turned away and not offered a provisional ballot. The second time, at a different location, Golden says she was first turned away and then offered a provisional ballot after an election official tried to discourage her from using the provisional ballot.
State election officials have told local election officials that anyone presenting a photo library card as their only form of identification should be offered a provisional ballot. After that ballot is used, a voter has two days to submit what the state considers to be a valid photo ID in order for the provisional ballot to be counted.
Twenty separate motions, notices and affidavits were filed Monday in the case. That included a motion by Tennessee Attorney General Robert Cooper to dismiss the city’s complaint “in its entirety for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”
Trauger then gave all sides in the matter until noon Tuesday to make their final filings.
The city is to file by then the authority its cites for its argument that the library system is authorized by state law to issue the ID cards
The state is to file the rules and regulations of the Tennessee Secretary of State on photo voter identification.
Judge Kevin Sharp denied last week the city’s motion for a restraining order that would have required the state to accept the library cards as voter identification. He set the case for an Aug. 2 hearing before Trauger.
The city then filed a second motion for a preliminary injunction last week to do the same thing and Trauger scheduled the Tuesday afternoon hearing.