[Note: I will be on Thom Hartmann's TV show, The Big Picture, tonight, to discuss this, and other recently related stories. | UPDATE: That appearance now posted here. - BF]
From ThinkProgress [emphasis in original]...
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.
Add Mitchell's story to the rapidly growing instances of long-time voters who are now running into obstacles to voting, such as bad or confusing information in Mitchell's case, or a lack of required documentation in 96-year old fellow Tennessean Dorothy Cooper's case, or potential charges of hundreds of dollars in 84-year old Ruthelle Frank's case in Wisconsin (to name just a very few). All had simply been hoping to cast the same legal votes that they've been legally able to cast for decades --- until now.
All of this comes in the wake of Republican statehouse takeovers in 2010, after which they began to pass laws in dozens of states designed to suppress the votes of the elderly, minorities, and students, who tend to disproportionately vote for Democrats and who disproportionately lack the specific type of state-issued Photo ID now required at the polling place in order to cast their vote.
Expect to see many more such stories in the weeks and months ahead, as those of us who believe in the right to vote actually fight to assure that right may exist again some day for all constitutionally legal voters.
In the meantime, at least there was a bit of good news late last week, as the U.S. Dept. of Justice denied approval of the South Carolina GOP's new disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restriction law, finding that it would lead to racial disparity among voters, according to the state's own statistics.
That bit of encouraging news came about just after the Charlie White, the Republican Sec. of State of Indiana (the first state to institute draconian polling place Photo ID restrictions in 2008), was ordered removed from office by a Circuit Court Judge in the wake of a finding that White was illegally on the ballot in 2010, having committed voter fraud by registering to vote at a residence where he didn't actually live.
Curiously enough, however, the actual case of voter fraud by White --- the state's chief election officer, who is also facing seven criminal felony charges (three of them for voter fraud) --- was not stopped by Indiana's draconian polling place Photo ID law. Only 80 and 90-year old nuns, college students, and World War II vets, apparently, were denied their right to vote by the GOP's voter suppression laws in the Hoosier State, while scofflaws like their own Republican Sec. of State were allowed to vote (illegally) without incident.