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22 October 2011

FollowUp 2: Voting Rights

It is one thing to talk about the theory of voting rights as being modified by numerous Republican state governments and the potential implications that the new restrictions on voting might have, it is another when it becomes real.  On Friday, The Tennessean wrote about the situation of Virginia Lasater, a ninety-one year old citizen who will not be able to vote.

Lasater told The Daily News Journal that she has voted and worked in campaigns for 70 years. She recently moved to Murfreesboro and on Wednesday registered to vote at the local election commission.

A new law requires voters to show a photo ID at the polls. Since Lasater doesn't have a photo on her driver's license, she went to get one. But the testing center was packed and there were no chairs available.

Her son says a clerk told them there was nothing they could do.

This is not the first such situation.  On the 5th of October, The Chattanooga Free Press wrote about the situation of Dorothy Cooper, a ninety-six year old citizen who will not be able to vote.

The retired domestic worker was born in a small North Georgia town before women had the right to vote. 

She began casting ballots in her 20s after moving to Chattanooga for work. She missed voting for John F. Kennedy in 1960 because a move to Nashville prevented her from registering in time.

So when she learned last month at a community meeting that under a new state law she'd need a photo ID to vote next year, she talked with a volunteer about how to get to a state Driver Service Center to get her free ID. But when she got there Monday with an envelope full of documents, a clerk denied her request.

That morning, Cooper slipped a rent receipt, a copy of her lease, her voter registration card and her birth certificate into a Manila envelope. Typewritten on the birth certificate was her maiden name, Dorothy Alexander.

"But I didn't have my marriage certificate," Cooper said Tuesday afternoon, and that was the reason the clerk said she was denied a free voter ID at the Cherokee Boulevard Driver Service Center.

It may be a coincidence that both of these ladies are elderly and black.  It may be a coincidence that both of these denials were in Tennessee.  It may be a coincidence that so many states with Republican governors and legislatures are limiting the rights to vote of their citizens.  I don't buy it.

Thanks to Talking Points Memo for the heads up.

3 October 2011, Original Pedantic Political Ponderings article.
14 October 2011, FollowUp 1 .

6 November, FollowUp 3. 
14 November 2011, FollowUp 4.
14 December 2011, FollowUp 5.
8 March 2012, FollowUp 6.
2 April 2012, FollowUp 7.
3 June 2012, FollowUp 8.

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