By Bobby Allyn | The Tennessean
Civil rights attorney George Barrett Wednesday filed an appeal to the Tennessee Court of Appeals of a recent state court decision that found Tennessee's voter identification law to be constitutional.
His application for emergency appeal asks state officials to remove government-issued photo ID as a voting requirement in the November election.
The appeal requests a hearing no later than Oct. 12. Tennessee's early voting starts Oct. 17.
Barrett has been at war for months with state officials over the state's voter ID law, which took effect this year. He has called the law "an unconstitutional impediment on the right to vote."
Chancellor Carol McCoy ruled last week that neither of the two Shelby County voters Barrett represented were harmed by the voter ID law, so the question of whether the law is constitutional or not could not go forward.
The lawsuit followed a ruling by a federal judge that Daphne Turner-Golden and Sullistine Bell, the two voters, could not use library identification as valid voter IDs.
Although the state constitution says there should be no qualifications to vote beyond legal age, residency and having a voter registration, McCoy said that "voting procedures have evolved over the years."
Douglas Johnston, Barrett's co-counsel, said the legislature passed the voter ID law to suppress minority participation in the November election, especially among groups that came out in droves in support of President Barack Obama in 2008.
As many as 390,000 registered voters in Tennessee lack a picture ID card, Barrett's lawsuit calculated. Of them, roughly 105,000 are 60 or older, according to the suits.
Barrett, who originally said he would like to appeal the matter to the state Supreme Court, said the Court of Appeals is the best venue to hear the case.
Reach Bobby Allyn at 615-726-5990 or email@example.com.