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Judge Rules Against Memphis Library Cards as Voter ID

A Nashville judge has ruled against the use of photo ID issued by the Memphis Public Library as a valid form of voter identification.
NASHVILLE, TN (abc24.com) - You can use your library card to read about history, but you can't use it to vote on Thursday in an election that might make history.

On Wednesday evening, U.S. District Court Judge Aleta A. Trauger in Nashville ruled voters can not use their City of Memphis-issued photo library cards as a valid voter ID.

When the city unveiled the cards earlier this month, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton announced the cards could be used to vote.

Since, the city says around 1100 residents applied for the cards, which cost the city $67,000 to launch.

The city says it started researching the cards in January, but admits no one called the Tennessee Coordinator of Elections to see if the cards would be legal.

"We know what that answer would have been, the same knee jerk answer they had when the voter IDs started being issued," said Regina Newman, a lawyer for the city.

"I am not saying we know that would have been the response, but we could have anticipated that would have been the response, and that was the response," she added.

The city argued current law let's voters use expired licenses from other states, but not a current library card with a photo.

"Our criteria are better then some of IDs being allowed for voting in the state of TN."

"We would have liked to have a different result today, we didn't get a different result."

The city says it started researching the cards as a voting option in January. The city added it believed it had the legal backing to launch the cards.

"In the end, please just keep in mind what this is intended to do," said Bobby White, Mayor Wharton's Chief-of-Staff.

"We only had in mind the voters and trying to give them the opportunity to vote that's all," said White.

The city said it would now weigh what to do next.
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