I was very excited yesterday knowing that I would be voting in my third presidential election. I went to work, requested my two hours of voting time, and headed off to my early voting precinct. When I arrived I handed them my staff ID (from a local state university) and I was told that I could not vote with that, as it was not a valid form of ID in the state of Tennessee. I told them they were clearly wrong, but yet they insisted that the ID needed to be a driver's license or state ID.
According to the TN Department of Homeland Defense they are wrong:
"State employee ID with photo (including those issued by state universities)"
The university I work for is state and it clearly states on the ID "Staff."
I know some of you will ask why I didn't utilize my state driver's ID. I did not use this ID because I was married and the name on it doesn't match my registration. This is common among married and divorced people, and I fall into one of the groups that people were worried would not have the correct photo ID. I did...they just didn't accept it.
They then decided that I didn't have a piece of mail proving my address (never needed it in the past, and I registered in person not by mail so that point is moot anyways). They then tried to put me out of the line, and I inquired whether I could vote provisionally. Mind you, I wasn't offered a provisional ballot, I had to request it. They said go wait in that line. I did as I was told, but then decided to go home, print out all the information, and have it ready to go back and vote on Saturday.
I'm an informed voter and have never missed an election in the past ten years. I will be returning to cast my ballot. Even being informed, with the sheer ignorance that permeated the volunteers, I would not have been allowed to cast my vote except provisionally, which requires extra steps to verify. Many voters that will be presented with this exact problem won't go back, and they won't challenge it either.
I contacted the Tennessee Democratic Party and reported the voter problem, as well as the national hotline. I also contacted the local election commission and alerted them that their volunteers are not adequately trained. Hopefully this will not happen to anyone else, but it is a sad state of affairs in Tennessee.