With the November election looming, the state is working to make it easier for people to get the photo identification needed to vote in Tennessee.
A new state law requires people to show a federal or state-issued photo ID before they can cast their ballot. The law also requires that those photo IDs used for voting purposes to be issued at no charge.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security announced Thursday that it will open eight of its driver service centers on the first Saturday of October and November. They were chosen based on population size and the response from citizens to centers that were opened on Saturdays before the primary election.
"Any citizen who needs a photo ID for voting purposes may obtain one at no charge by visiting any of our 51 driver service centers during normal business hours. As an added service, we are again opening certain centers for special Saturday hours to make sure everyone has an opportunity to get a photo ID," Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons said.
As of early September, the state had issued 22,355 photo IDs for voting purposes. The vast majority (20,967) of those issued were non-photo driver licenses converted into photo driver licenses, while 1,388 were original photo identification cards.
The eight driver service centers will be open from 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 6 and Saturday, November 3. The centers will issue voter photo IDs and convert non-photo driver licenses into photo driver licenses only. No other services will be available during these special hours.
The following driver service centers will provide this special Saturday service:
6604 Centennial Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37209
6502 Bonny Oaks Drive
Chattanooga, TN 37416
7320 Region Lane
Knoxville, TN 37914
100 Benchmark Circle
Jackson, TN 38301
4600 Jefferson Ave.
Cookeville, TN 38506
3200 East Shelby Drive
Memphis, TN 38118
4717 Lake Park Drive
Johnson City, TN 37615
8598 Highway 22
Dresden, TN 38225
To minimize the possibility of wait times during Saturday hours, groups or organizations planning to make a group visit to a driver service center should schedule an appointment by calling Melissa Long at 865-712-4908 (east Tennessee contact) or Rochelle Bryant at 931-242-7282 (west Tennessee contact).
For more information on the new voter photo ID law, including acceptable forms of photo identification and documents needed to obtain a photo ID for voting purposes, please visit the Department of Safety and Homeland Security's website at www.tn.gov/safety