Johnson City

Some voters faced registration problems at polls

Election issues

Tuesday's election put Tennessee's voter photo ID law to the test and for the most part it passed.

"We had two provisional photo ballots; both brought back IDs," said Washington County, Tennessee election administrator Maybell Stewart.

But a program designed to get more people registered to vote created lots of problems. "A lot of people think that by getting a driver's license they are automatically registered to vote," says Sullivan County election administrator Jason Booher, "but that is not the case."

Tennessee law requires five state agencies to offer voter registration services at the time they offer their own service, for example getting a driver's license.

Many people fill out the paperwork and assume they are good to go on Election Day. "I would say two-thirds or three-fourths come to us with a problem," says Booher.

Election officials say the biggest issues come from applications filled out through the department of safety.

The Sullivan County Election Commission sends voters a letter notifying them of the problematic paperwork, but it's rarely corrected.

News 5 checked with local counties and found nearly 200 Tri-Cities voters ran into the problem on Election Day.

"They cast a provisional ballot;" says Booher. "We then do some research to see if they tried to register at an agency."

The ballots are currently sealed; once the research is complete a review board will determine if they count.

Election officials say the best way to avoid the problem is to register to vote through your local election commission office. They also recommend checking your voter registration online a few weeks before an election.

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