Saturday, September 8, 2012

Traugher’s decision, part of a two-hour hearing, came after a legal challenge filed by the city arguing that the library cards met the criteria under a revised state voter law. As of Jan. 1, a photo ID card issued by a state or federal institution is required as proof of identity before a ballot can be cast – a driver’s license being the most likely option. Attorneys for the state told Traugher the city lacked legal authority to issue valid picture IDs for voters, according to media reports.

A lawsuit had been expected almost from the first day – July 5 – the new library card initiative was rolled out in Memphis. The city’s library system, Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton, Jr. said, is the very embodiment of a state institution. So there was no doubt the cards fit the requirements set down in the state law.

Bob Warburton, “Judge: Library Memphis Cards Aren’t Photo ID”, Library Journal.

This seems utterly ridiculous - not everyone has a driver’s license, and this could be the only form of state-issued photo ID that they have (because, yes! Public libraries are, in fact, a government institution). This is denying public libraries their place in government. When people sign up for a library card, they have to bring proof of who they are, so why shouldn’t a photo ID library card be proof of who they are as well? This ruling seems to invalidate not just library users, but libraries themselves.

Notes

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