Mary Lou Miller is a 101-year-old woman who has been voting since 1934. But not in 2015
, because she doesn't have photo identification. Miller writes in the San Antonio Express-News
that she moved from one assisted living facility to another while her mail-in ballot was on its way to her, not knowing it wouldn't be forwarded.
With no mail ballot, I attempted to vote early in person. I do not possess a government-issued photo ID, and I have had none issued since I stopped driving when I was in my early 80s, over 20 years ago. One of the benefits of mail ballot is that a voter is not required to provide such a document.
But on Monday of this week, I was driven to a Texas Department of Public Safety office where I wanted to obtain a “Proof of Identity.” I did not have a Texas Driver’s License issued within two years of expiration. No Passport. No unexpired U.S. military photo ID. Nor did I have an “advance parole document with photo.” Sorry, but I never did time in the penitentiary, so I don’t have that document. Had I had just one of these documents, I could obtain my “Proof of Identity” and be somebody.
Since I didn’t have one of the primary identification documents, I could produce either two documents from the secondary identification documents list or one from the secondary list plus two from the supporting identification documents. Sorry, but I have never seen my birth certificate, if, indeed, one was issued. I was born in Luxor, a very tiny unincorporated coal village in Southwestern Pennsylvania, and maybe they recorded my birth, but I don’t have a copy. Nor was I born abroad, and I don’t possess a certified copy of a court order indicating a change of name.
Miller does have a Social Security card, a Medicare card, and a voter registration card from her old address, but none of those are good enough.
This is a woman who was born before women got the right to vote, one who not only used her right to vote but registered and educated others. Now, that right is being taken away from her by laws aimed at disenfranchising groups of people who don't tend to vote the way Republicans want.