Both sides claim victory in library card voting battle - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Both sides claim victory in library card voting battle

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Thursday marks the last day of early voting in Tennessee before the November 6th presidential election. Thursday morning, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton and some members of his administration went to the polls to use their library card as identification to vote.

The Mayor was able to use his library card to vote on an electronic machine thanks to a decision by the State Supreme Court.

MORE: Read the Supreme Court decision

The State Election Commission had said provisional ballots were to be used when a library card was presented at the polls. But, Thursday's Supreme Court decision reversed that.

WATCH: Library card ruled valid voter ID
MORE: State will appeal voter ID ruling

Both sides are claiming victory. The State Supreme Court says photo library card must be accepted until the appeal in the case can be heard. The state is happy the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case. The City of Memphis is happy voters can vote on the electronic voting machines when using a library card.

Last month, a panel of appeals court judges ruled that Memphis photo library cards could be used by voters at the polls. After the decision, a defendant in the case, Mark Goins, the State Coordinator of Elections, ordered provisional ballots be issued to anyone presenting a library card for identification.

But now these voters will vote on the electronic machines, which means their votes will be counted for this election no matter what the Supreme Court decides.

But, this makes a back and forth and back again for the local poll workers.

"While it's inconvenient, I don't think it's that hard for us to handle.  Would it have been better if this had all been settled before the election? Sure, but it's not an impossible task to communicate to people," says Shelby County  Election Commission Chairman Robert Meyer.

Mayor Wharton said of the decision, "Anything that opens the door wider and legitimately to voting is a great day.  The more people we get to participate, the stronger the city, the stronger our state, the stronger our nation."

The Election Commission says about 19 people had to fill out provisional ballots for not having the right ID. Those who used a library card will have their vote counted, and do not need to return to the polls.

Early voting ends at 7 PM on Thursday.

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