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A 93-year-old Tennessee woman who cleaned the state Capitol for 30 years, including the governor’s office, says she won’t be able to vote for the first time in decades after being told this week that her old state ID failed to meetnew voter ID regulations.

Thelma Mitchell was even accused of being an undocumented immigrant because she couldn’t produce a birth certificate:

Mitchell, who was delivered by a midwife in Alabama in 1918, has never had a birth certificate. But when she told that to a drivers’ license clerk, he suggested she might be an illegal immigrant.

Thelma Mitchell told WSMV-TV that she went to a state drivers’ license center last week after being told that her old state ID from her cleaning job would not meet new regulations for voter identification.

A spokesman for the House Republican Caucus insisted that Mitchell was given bad information and should’ve been allowed to vote, even with an expired state ID. But even if that’s the case, her ordeal illustrates the inevitable disenfranchisements that result when confusing voting laws enable state officials to apply the law inconsistently.

The incident is the just latest in a series of reports of senior citizens being denied their constitutional right to vote under restrictive new voter ID laws pushed by Republican governors and legislatures. These laws are a transparent attempt to target Democrat constituencies who are less likely to have photo ID’s, and disproportionately affect seniors, college students, the poor and minorities.

As ThinkProgress reported, one 96-year-old Tennessee woman was denied a voter ID because she didn’t have her marriage license. Another senior citizen in Tennessee, 91-year-old Virginia Lasater, couldn’t get the ID she needed to vote because she wasn’t able to stand in a long line at the DMV. A Tennessee agency even told a 86-year-old World War II veteran that he had to pay an unconstitutional poll tax if he wanted to obtain an ID.

11 Responses

  1. @Nora and Mike H.

    I stand corrected. My apologies. It didn’t occur to me that, if one had a driver’s license for years, all of a sudden, renewing it had become a problem because documents never requested before had become necessary.

  2. My father was a World War II vet with a top secret clearance from
    General Mac Arthur himself because he was a cryptographer stationed
    in Australia.
    He never had a birth certificate because he was born at home in 1914 to Irish and Norwegian immigrants. All he had was a Roman Catholic Baptismal certificate to prove who he was.
    Today, he would not be able to renew his driver license because
    he never had a birth certificate.
    I have a buddy, born in 1952 who was adopted and has no idea
    who his parents were. He did three years in the Air Force and has
    his honorable discharge. They won’t let him renew his Florida driver
    license which he has had for over 20 years because he doesn’t have
    a birth certificate.
    Welcome to the police State, Amerika, 2011.

  3. Dear Neil, this mail is just for you and please do not post it. I hope to write you this week to do a combo on my home that is in a foreclosure with Wachovia Mortgage with a trustee sale date for 2/18/2012. my original loan was with world savings in 2006, oct.31,closing date. I am sending all my paperwork to National Community Reinvestment Coalition in Washington, D.C. for review in hope to save my home from foreclosure. Neil, I am surprised that there are not more lawyers that are willing to help homeowners by taking their cases on contingency? Do you know why that is? If you know of a good lawyer in California. I have tried to reach MoveOn but no reply. I am getting a little nervous! sincerely, Marsha Ann Kilgore

  4. While it’s valid that many (older) people who were born at home like my father have a bitch of a time getting a birth certificate, I smell some baloney in this article.
    I don’t believe in voter ID anymore than I believe in aliens or fairies. It’s a load of crap. If you are a breathing, ambulatory body, you should be able to vote if you damn well want to. The government is way too interested in our personal information and private business, if you ask me. Particularly since they announce whoever they want to be in office as the winner, regardless of the vote count. Apathy hasn’t caused me to not bother voting–EVER. It’s because the system is rigged. The two parties are funded by the 1%ers and there is no material difference between their candidates. However, this election I’ll make an exception and vote for Ron Paul, like everyone else with a brain. If he’s not on the ticket, I’ll write him in. If he doesn’t win, it’ll be because the evil puppetmasters reported fraudulent results, as usual. I’ll be the first one to start a petition demanding a recount.

  5. Furthermore, if she cleaned the capitol building she had a photo ID so Neil is really up to his hips in it this time.

  6. This is well known Tennessee Democrat Racism. The Republicans have never had enough political power nor the desire to do this in Tennessee.

  7. Oh! And by the way, not being a citizen prevents you only from voting in federal elections. In some jurisdictions, it doesn’t stop you from voting in local and state elections if you are a legal resident, i.e., legally in this country with a green card (which means with a permanent residence in the states). Which jurisdictions, I don’t exactly know but it can be found. Do your research.

    I do realize that, during the last presidential elections, people were mislead and told that “the voting booths have been moved to another address”, “since we already have a winner, the elections have been called off early”, etc.

    With a minimum of critical sense and civic education, people would/should have known that those were lies. One of my pet peeves is that many people want others to do their thinking for them. We also have a lot of foreign born residents and citizens who didn’t bother to learn the rules and still, to this day and after 20 or 30 years spent here, don’t know the laws or even how to speak English. Well, we can’t learn for them.

    And if the issue is so crucial for the Democrats, stop giving banks money and invest in schooling for everyone. Enough with the B.S.!

  8. Although I tend to sympathize with people whose life is made more difficulty, this is the kind of story I have a hard time buying.

    Besides, I don’t know why, all of a sudden, we hear of people who can’t seem to get IDs and are “prevented” to vote. It’s on the news much more than the real problems faced by America, i.e., fraudulent foreclosures, unjust enrichment, congress in bed with banks, government failure to seek justice on behalf of all the homeowners who lost their houses through banks shenanigans, the intensified efforts by a few to turn America into a third world country, etc.

    I suspect that a few people may have difficulty registering to vote at the last minute. I also expect that many of those problems result from an earlier failure on their part to actually answer official mail, report a move from one state to the other or from one county to the other, failure to renew state issued IDs or apply for one. I’ve moved coat to coast and state to state. I have never had a problem registering to vote. The thing is: as soon as I settled somewhere, I made sure the authorities knew about it. I immediately converted my driver’s license. The IRS knows every year where I live. My whereabouts are known. Many times, grand’ma moved with a parent and told no one. Or she went to a nursing home of a living facility and no one bothered to tell anyone. Chances are, grand’ma used to drive, stopped 10 or 15 years ago and never renewed her driver’s license and never turned it into a regular state ID. Maybe grand’ma never voted before or stopped years ago and fell off the lists. There can be many reasons.

    This kind of news is designed to trigger an emotional, knee-jerk response in people. This is not a “political” problem. This is an “ignorance” problem. Maybe even a “laziness” problem. With all due respect, Neil, kindly stick to the metter at hand: foreclosures and how to fight them.

  9. what a bunch of crap! The woman can get a state ID for what, $3, $10? Quit the spin on the “poor disenfranchised voters”. If you don’t have an ID, YOU SHOULDN’T BE ALLOWED TO VOTE! PERIOD!

    They want it to be like Chicago: “Vote EARLY and OFTEN!”
    That’s the “Obama Way”. These frickin’ Democrats couldn’t win an election without voter fraud.
    And the Repubicans? They’re not my friends, either.

    “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore!”

  10. Oh , and before we get our first nonsensical response about a right to vote … There is NO RIGHT TO VOTE in this countries constitution. In fact since most peoples thoughts go immediately to presidential politics I’ll just say it right here , there is no constitutional foundation for a popular vote , it is just a construct to support the electors/electoral college. That is why it is different on each state level …

    These same “victims” can always find a valid id to produce when they want something from the rest of us ,, social security , ssd , unemployment , medicare , medicaid …

  11. Showing an ID is something we all have to do on nearly everyday of our lives , these people all have Social Security cards and can obtain birth certificates if they want ,, that they don’t have the necessary foundation documents for the id of choice , a drivers license or state issued id card is something they can correct at no cost … I live in Florida and the way these old people are abused by having operatives of the Democrat party “help” them all vote from their nursing home beds when many of them can”t even tell you their names is disgusting.

    I support all reasonable measures to reduce the rampant vote fraud in our country, showing an id is one such measure.

    ThinkProgress , source of the more outrageous claims in this article , is of course affiliated with CP-USA , communist party USA .

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