Archive for the ‘chip forrester’ Category

Jackson Day 2012: Fired Up and Ready to Go

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Tennessee Democrats kicked off the 2012 campaign season by celebrating Jackson Day on the Bicentennial Mall in Nashville this past weekend.  Our big tent party went into the night as 700 folks from across the state celebrated our past and looked forward to the future.

We honored Speaker Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh with the Gov. Ned [...]

Chairman Forrester on the Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester today released the following statement on the two year anniversary of President Obama’s signing of the Affordable Care Act – which to date has helped millions of middle class families, seniors, and young people receive quality affordable health care:

“Two years ago with the stroke of a pen, [...]

TNDP Chair Chip Forrester’s Statement on Results of Tennessee’s Presidential Primary

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

NASHVILLE — Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester released the following statement tonight on the results of the GOP Primary in Tennessee:

“Mitt Romney’s loss tonight shows that he is out-of-touch with Tennesseans and it raises serious concerns about his chances in November — if he can make it to the general election. Not [...]

Democrats Launch Online Petition Against Governor’s Move to Increase Class Sizes

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

View the Petition:

NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Democratic Party launched Wednesday an online petition drive opposing Governor Bill Haslam’s proposal to eliminate average class size requirements at public schools. Chairman Chip Forrester released this statement to accompany the petition:

“Parents and teachers know first hand what a difference small class sizes make [...]

Forrester: Focus All Tax Relief on Working, Middle Class Families

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Eliminating the Grocery Tax Should Come First

NASHVILLE – Chip Forrester, chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party, urged the General Assembly Thursday to give working and middle class families top priority on tax cuts and move all tax relief efforts toward eliminating the sales tax on groceries.

“Tennessee has one of the highest grocery taxes [...]

Forrester Blasts House Republicans’ Vote to Raise Taxes on 160 Million Americans

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Following Tuesday’s vote by House Republicans to reject an extension of the payroll tax cut for the middle class passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate, Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester issued the following statement:

“In less than two weeks, 160 million Americans will be hit with a tax hike in the middle [...]

Honoring Our Veterans

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Today, in communities across Tennessee, we honor the courage and sacrifice of the many brave servicemen and women who have given so much to their country and fought to ensure that America continues to enjoy the freedoms and opportunities that make our nation great.

We owe each and every one of America’s veterans our eternal [...]

New voter law will suppress legitimate voting |

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

The following column appeared in the Sunday, October 23, 2011 edition of The Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Posted in bill haslam, chip forrester, Latest News, Sidebar, statewide, voter id | Comments Off on New voter law will suppress legitimate voting |

New voter law will suppress legitimate voting |

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

The following column appeared in the Sunday, October 23, 2011 edition of The Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Tennessee voters are more likely to be struck by lightning than to have their vote stolen at the ballot box.

Millions of citizens cast ballots in Tennessee elections; more than 6 million votes have been tallied in the three previous statewide elections in Tennessee alone.

Still, state Election Coordinator Mark Goins told the Chattanooga Times Free Press he can point to only one, possibly two, instances of someone being convicted of impersonating someone else when trying to vote.

One — “possibly two” — cases out of a number far greater than 6 million.

By any measure, Tennessee elections are a success story. Over the years, our electoral process has virtually guaranteed your right to be a voter and have your vote counted.

Few systems of any kind could boast such high rates of success, yet for years Republicans have trumpeted claims of rampant voter fraud.

Though every effort — local or national — to demonstrate widespread fraud at the ballot box has failed to produce evidence that such fraud exists, Republicans persist in such claims for cynical and partisan reasons: The assertion of “voter fraud” is the perfect bogeyman for those who want to enact photo ID laws like the one we’ve seen passed in Tennessee.

The reality is that photo ID laws result in unnecessary costs and disenfranchisement of the elderly, the young, the poor and minorities — individuals who are least likely to have government identification or to be able to afford to get it.

No one wants to see the system abused, but the problem with combating “voter fraud” with photo ID requirements is that these laws exclude and deter people who are otherwise legal voters.

Whether you’re in favor of voter ID laws or opposed, it should be just as disturbing to think someone could abuse the system as it is to think that someone could be excluded from it.

In Chattanooga and elsewhere in Tennessee, we’ve

already seen the real effects of the voter ID law. The plight of Hamilton County’s Mrs. Dorothy Cooper, a 96-year-old African-American woman who has voted without issue for seven decades until the new voter ID law, has received national attention.

Mrs. Cooper’s story directly disproves the Republican argument that all law-abiding voters have a photo ID.

In fact, according to the Department of Safety, there are around 675,000 voting-age Tennesseans — about one in 10 — who are just like Mrs. Cooper and lacking the picture ID now needed to vote.

To be a voter on Election Day, a majority of these citizens must obtain a photo ID from a driver service center.

So why don’t they just get one? Good question. Republicans have volunteered you to pay the bill.

A cost analysis of voter ID implementation costs in other states puts the estimated price tag for Tennessee taxpayers between $8 million and $24 million over the next four years. Republicans have decided to spend limited state resources chasing mythical claims of voter fraud rather than investing tax dollars back into our communities, creating jobs and improving education.

Even with taxpayers subsidizing the program, there are still unnecessary costs and hurdles for those who want to obtain a government-issued voter ID.

First, a whopping 53 of 95 Tennessee counties have no driver’s license center, meaning some rural residents will have to travel as far as 60 miles to get a proper ID — a significant burden for the working poor, the elderly and disabled voters.

Second, news reports from Memphis indicate that some voters have spent as much as four hours waiting in long lines to get an ID — only to be turned away on trivial technicalities, like Mrs. Cooper was, for not having enough documentation.

For some voters, these burdensome barriers to the ballot box will be just enough to rob them of their constitutional right.

In an effort to scuttle the concerns of citizens ranging from preachers to U.S. senators, Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration has rolled out a modest effort to educate voters about the new requirements. Haslam’s plan includes asking some county clerks to issue photo IDs, opening up express lanes for ID seekers and running several public service announcements.

As of Oct. 5, the Department of Safety reported to The Tennessean that a mere 214 voter ID cards had been issued.

If the number of issued voter ID cards does not increase dramatically before March’s primary election, it will be impossible for Republicans to whitewash the voter-suppressing effect of this law.

There is a growing movement seeking a full repeal of the voter ID law. We support that action to ensure the voting rights of all Tennesseans.

The debate we should be having is how to encourage more participation in our elections — not less. At the Democratic Party, we are committed to making sure every law-abiding Tennessean who wants to be a voter can be without barriers.

Chip Forrester is the chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party and an executive committee member of the Democratic National Committee. He may be reached by email at

New voter law will suppress legitimate voting |

Sen. Ketron, meet Virginia

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Add Mrs. Virginia Lasater, a 91-year-old woman in Rutherford County, to the list of known Tennessee seniors who are struggling to comply with state Sen. Bill Ketron’s new Republican voter ID law.

Mrs. Lasater went to a driver testing center in Mufreesboro to get a state-issued photo ID so she could vote, but ran into a problem. From The Daily News Journal1:

Aided by a walking cane to get around, she quickly decided she couldn’t stand up long enough to wait and her son could find no chairs available for her to sit. (Her son) Richard estimated at least 100 people were in the building, and workers were “way overworked and way understaffed.” He was told at the help desk there was nothing they could do but wait.

They left, upset about the law and the long lines.

“I’m just afraid people will say it’s too much trouble,” said Mrs. Lasater.

With Republican plans on the table to gut Medicare and privatize Social Security, it’s not a wonder why Republicans are making it harder for senior citizens to be voters.

This past legislative session, Tennessee Republicans passed a voter ID law—written by big, corporate specials interests—that requires all voters to have a government-issued photo ID at the polls.

The law sounds reasonable on its face. But there’s a huge problem: 675,000 Tennesseans, who, like Mrs. Lasater, are law-abiding citizens and eligible to vote—have no state-issued photo ID.

This law was passed in a hasty manner with insufficient funding and absolutely no mechanism in place to efficiently educate voters and distribute hundreds of thousands of state-issued photo IDs.

With only 19 weeks until the Primary Election, we’re running out of time. Since July, according to the article, the state has only issued 561 new voter IDs.

It’s almost guaranteed that some citizens who have voted for years without a problem will be turned away in next year’s elections when the discriminatory law goes into effect.

Would it bother Sen. Ketron if the votes of law-abiding citizens like 91-year-old Mrs. Virginia Lasater were not counted because they couldn’t wait in an hours-long line for a state-issued picture ID?

Ketron said, “NO… I’m not that concerned about it.”2

This is the difference.

The Tennessee Democratic Party won’t stop fighting until every law-abiding Tennessean can be a voter and participate in this democracy. Republicans like Bill Ketron, well, they just aren’t that concerned about it.

If you have a problem getting a state-issued photo ID, we want to help. Click here to share your Voter ID Story.

Your fellow Democrat,

Chip Forrester
on behalf of YOUR Tennessee Democratic Party

1. “After long wait, no seat , voter, 91, quits on ID,” The Daily News Journal.

2. Ketron says he’s not concerned about uncounted votes. The Daily News Journal.