Students protest Tennessee’s voter ID laws on Capitol Hill

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN0 – Students from colleges across Middle Tennessee gathered at Legislative Plaza on Monday to protest Tennessee’s voter ID laws.

The rally called “Let My People Vote” discussed what the students call discriminatory practices that keep people from voting.

One student who spoke said 15 percent of college students don’t have the right ID to vote, and 18 percent of low-income people are being purged for inactive voting.

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

They want a new voter restoration policy that stops those purges as well as to expand the protections for people who used to be in prison.

“Voter ID laws have a disproportionate and unfair impact on low-income individuals, racial and ethnic minority voters, students such as myself, senior citizen voters with disabilities, and others who do not have a government-issued ID or the money to acquire one,” another student said during the rally.

Later Monday, News 2 reached out to the Tennessee Secretary of State for comment.

The office of Tre Hargett released the following statement:

Tennessee’s photo ID law has been challenged and upheld by our courts. The law is designed to prevent voter fraud while ensuring all registered Tennesseans exercise their right to vote.

A driver’s license or photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security as well as photo IDs issued by Tennessee state government or the federal government are acceptable forms of identification even if they are expired. There is also a mechanism if someone cannot afford a photo ID. College student IDs are not acceptable, but our department has helped register more than 7,000 college students this election cycle alone to ensure they are not excluded. We also work with students to host voter registration drives at both Tennessee State University and Fisk University.

The purging process is designed to make sure only eligible voters are allowed to vote. State law requires the removal of voters who are deceased, moved or have been convicted of a felony.