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Welcome to VoteRiders’ third installment of Do You Really Want Your Right to Vote Determined by the DMV?

Today we share Raymond’s story. Like many in the pre-Civil Rights-era South, Raymond Rutherford was born in his home in Sumter County, South Carolina. The midwife who delivered him misspelled his first name and put his mother’s maiden name as his last name on his birth certificate. His voter registration card, tax returns and pay stubs all bear his correct name. Because of the discrepancy between these records and his birth certificate, Raymond couldn’t get the ID he needed to vote without obtaining a delayed birth certificate (the same type of complicated and expensive document we mentioned in the first installment of this series). In order to secure a delayed birth certificate, Raymond would need the services of an attorney, which he certainly couldn't afford. Fortunately for Raymond, he was able to get help from Dr. Brenda Williams’ organization, The Family Unit, a nonprofit whose mission includes the encouragement of voter participation. Obtaining a delayed birth certificate can take months. Like the other citizens we’ve highlighted in past installments, Raymond has voted in every election since he turned 18.

Luckily for Raymond, South Carolina’s voter ID law was put on hold until 2013 so he was able to vote last month. Dr. Williams continues to work with countless others in South Carolina who have the same problem as Raymond. According to Dr. Williams:

…these individuals all have social security numbers, Medicare numbers, and many receive Supplemental Security Income. Millions of these persons receive Medicaid. In other words, all of these citizens already are well-known to our federal government as well as state governments. The vast majority of them have paid taxes in their lifetimes and many of them still are paying taxes.... just as is the case of Mr. Raymond Rutherford.

I feel that they suffer discrimination and prejudicial treatment in this country and are denied civil rights, human rights as well as voting rights due to them being born during a time in our country when documentation of births was not considered important by government officials.

Do you share some of Dr. Williams’ frustration? We’ve featured only three stories of just how difficult it can be to procure the underlying documents necessary to ultimately obtain identification that can be required to vote. These three individuals represent thousands of others across the country. So, you ask - what are we doing about this? Tune in on Friday when we’ll share our plans!


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Comment Preferences

  •  I would add one more story in attempting to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    obtain a driver's license renewal for a relative.  Since the DMV requires a face to face visit to its facilities every other renewal (the intermediate one can be done online), this means a bedridden pt has to show up at a DMV to have a new pic taken.
    Problem: SC DMV does not recognize ADA or at least does not seem to.  MC nor MCD pays for ambulance trips to the DMV so a bedridden (even a chronically bedridden person) person has to either pay for the ambulance out of his own pocket or be transported by relatives (which may require a specialized van)

    SC DMV first of all does not accept a relative negotiating for a disabled person; instead you have to produce a durable POA to be able to even discuss the person's needs.  Second, the ADA does not require a person provide medical proof of disability but merely to assert that he meets the requirements to be disabled.  In addition, DMV's insistence of medical records may also violate HIPAA since there are no assurances any medical information will be protected as it would be in a medical setting.

    At any rate, after producing a POA, providing the medical records of the relative and then a recent photo, with a time stamp to ensure it was recent, we were able to get the license renewal.

    However my question remains: when did the SC DMV become exempt from the ADA?    

    •  We're so sorry (0+ / 0-)

      for what your relative and you all encountered.  Not only is this situation lacking in "customer service" and user-friendliness, but you seem to have found key inconsistencies with federal law.  We will pass along these issues to those in the civil rights and disabilities communities whose focus is more relevant than ours.   We appreciate your bringing your relative's travails to our attention.

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