Dear Speaker of the House, Ms. Beth Harwell; House Representatives and State Senators of the 107th General Assembly; Mr. Mark Goins, Coordinator of Elections; and local county election commissions across the state of Tennessee, under the encouragement and enabling of the current suppressive Voter ID laws made effective January 1, 2012:
As we approach the General Elections this November, the Knoxville community rises up in solidarity to protest the current Voter ID Laws.
Thirty states, including Tennessee, will be affected by the current Voter ID Laws that will undermine upcoming elections, denying American citizens the freedom of a fair and just election process.
These current oppressive photo ID laws are aimed at young voters, students, individuals in conversion, citizens with disabilities, military veterans, the elderly, communities of color, and all people currently living on or below the poverty line. The given justification for these measures, voter fraud, does not outweigh the numbers of voters disenfranchised by these laws.
These laws create a bigger problem and return us to the Jim Crow era and the poll tax of the past. We stand up with all Tennesseans, empowered, with the desire to ensure the right to vote for all communities in our state and stand up to support our elected officials and local election commissions in reversing any effort to disenfranchise the vote.
Voter ID Laws breach upon our civil right to vote by creating poll taxes. Many of the individuals listed above, including those of color, with disability, and in poverty, have limited access to transportation and id-issuing offices, as well as costs associated with getting the necessary documentation to obtain valid ID now required for voting.
We petition that the 108th Tennessee General Assembly recognize the outcry of its constituency and reverse the new Voter ID Laws. We ask that Speaker Harwell, as a woman, personally sponsor and foster the reversal of these laws in respect of her heritage as a protected class and as the first female Speaker for the Tennessee House of Representatives.