MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - After winning a ruling that upheld Tennessee's new law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls, election officials said they will ask the state Supreme Court to step in because the decision also ordered them to accept an ID issued by the Memphis public library.
The Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the law was constitutional but it also said the library card qualified as a government-issued photo ID. The court issued a separate order requiring election officials to immediately accept the Memphis library cards.
Secretary of State Tre Hargett praised much of the ruling even as he announced the decision to file an appeal on Friday.
"They've called it a burden on voting and once again the judiciary has said not it's not," Hargett said.
The city of Memphis and two voters who lacked photo ID and cast provisional ballots during the August primary sued in both federal and state court to stop the law that took effect this year.
The state's decision to seek an appeal underscores how voter ID has been a top priority among the Republicans who control state government because a new filing could open the way for the Tennessee Supreme Court to strike down the entire law.
Attorney Douglas Johnston said he is consulting with his client, the City of Memphis, about whether to also appeal the parts of the ruling that upheld the voter ID law.
"More than likely they're going to want to appeal it themselves," he said. "I'm just not sure the Supreme Court can get it done in the short amount of time before the election."
The appeals court opinion acknowledged the fierce fight over the law.
"We note that the Voter Photo ID Act has created much controversy and aroused intense feelings among both its supporters and its detractors. The courts do not question the General Assembly's motives or concern themselves with the General Assembly's policy judgments," the opinion said.