A New Level of Voter ID: Proposed Bill to Require Fingerprint Match for Voting Moves Through General Assembly


Voter ID issues may become a thing of the past in Tennessee if the General Assembly approves new legislation proposing fingerprint readers. The bill proposes that the state implement fingerprint-reading technology to verify a voter’s identity. Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and all state agencies share the contents of their fingerprint databases with the Secretary of the State to establish this new method of ID verification.

State Representative Susan Lynn (R-Mount Juliet) and State Senator Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) introduced the legislation last month. With certain exceptions, current Tennessee law only requires that voters offer federal or Tennessee state IDs containing their name and photograph, such as driver’s licenses, passports, and military ID – even if they’re expired. Those exempt from these current stipulations include those who vote absentee by mail.

Neither legislator responded to The Tennessee Star with comment by press time.

At present, it appears that no states in the country implement fingerprint readers as a form of ID verification. That’s not to say that states haven’t tested the waters. West Virginia has been experimenting with facial recognition software to register military personnel overseas and issue them ballots. Their officials claimed that they were the first in the country to test this system. Last summer, reports stated that an unidentified West Coast election office contracted a biometrics company to assist in its multi-factor authentication process during elections. That same anonymous election office expanded their contract with the company last month.

Other countries, such as several in Africa, have already adopted biometrics systems for voter verification.

One likely issue for legislators might be the funding necessary to establish such a system. Another would likely be the bill’s application to those who need to vote absentee. In addition to those issues, public policy analysts have indicated that individuals harbor privacy concerns when it comes to expanding technology’s role in elections.

Despite possible privacy concerns, biometrics are becoming an increasingly common component in our society. More smartphone and technology companies are equipping their products with iris, facial, and fingerprint scanner technologies for tasks such as unlocking devices and submitting payments – and more individuals are relying on them. Even public accommodations such as airports, stadiums, and concert halls are adopting these technologies.

Last week, the bill advanced to committee in both the House and Senate. The legislation will appear before the House Elections and Campaign Finance Subcommittee and was referred to the Senate State and Local Government Committee.

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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Voting Machine” by KOMUnews. CC BY 2.0.





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14 Thoughts to “A New Level of Voter ID: Proposed Bill to Require Fingerprint Match for Voting Moves Through General Assembly”

  1. TJ

    Voter ID, Yes absolutely needed! Fingerprinting, Hell to the No!

    The reason we need Constitutional Carry in TN and why I refuse to get the current permit is because of fingerprinting. I have held permits in other states that do not require the fingerprinting for a Constitutional Right. The illegitimate Federal Government is out of control and the Tyranny is trickling down to the State level.

    P.S Y’all better think long and hard before injecting the Tyrant’s poison in your arms. The government is Not your friend and those in charge of the “Vaccine” openly support mass population control. Do you think now they love and want to help us serfs live longer?

  2. William Delzell

    This is Big Brother/Big Sister legislation. State Representatives Lynn and Nicely each need free copies of George Orwell’s 1984 to disabuse them of such notions. But the so-called “Christian” academy that they probably received their high school diplomas from banned that book from their reading lists! Tennesseans would have to be fools to fall for such a law. This is another example of Republican RACISM!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. TNGal

    So now people will be treated like they’re being charged with a crime because they want to vote in elections. What has happened to the land of the free and the home of the brave?

  4. 83ragtop50

    I do not want to share my fingerprints with a government that cannot be trusted. There is nothing wrong with requiring a photo id to vote but it should be attached t a unexpired official document – not an expired one. As for absentee voting, a similar requirement should be put into place.

    More urgently we need a requirement that all counties produce and retain a printed copy of our voting. Right now my precinct has electronic ballots only. A open invitation to fraud.

  5. Rick

    We have to do something or the Democrats will keep stealing elections, but no to fingerprints, not a good idea!

    1. Cannoneer2

      I see…. now they have stopped preaching and gone to meddling. How about a retinal scan as a second form of identification? We can’t be letting just anyone off the street vote!

  6. Bob Marsh

    This isn’t going anywhere.

  7. Karen Bracken

    EVERY state should pass this law. It is time we got serious about election and voter fraud. Fingerprints are used in several 3rd world countries but the US seems to be more interested in legalizing fraud than in honest elections. It is becoming more and more obvious, in my opinion, that the only way most Democrats get elected is because of fraud.

  8. Mike

    Finger printing all voters is ridiculous.

  9. Beatrice Shaw

    Republicans will do ANYTHING to prevent people from voting so they can STEAL elections. SMH…ashamed….

  10. Kevin

    Why would we introduce a totally new method of personal identification when we already have one that’s in place with 90+% of eligible voters. It’s called the photo-ID.

    I suspect that this is just a response by two to the Tennessee swamp dwellers to a poll showing voters want stronger election laws. So they run a Bill that has zero chance of passing through the legislative gauntlet. And then they’ll claim that they tried…

    1. Wolf Woman

      Ever heard of fake ID? You can buy it on the black market for cash. Where do you think all the underage kids and illegal aliens get their ID?

  11. Leslie Benny

    Yes! I love this….someone out there is thinking!

  12. CMinTN

    No thanks. I’m all for secure elections, real id and such, but the gov’t doesn’t need my biometrics sitting in some database to be possibly abused and shared with/hacked by some third party.