The video of 107-year-old Virginia McLaurin dancing with President Obama went viral in February. This amazing woman, who has seen more than a century of history in her lifetime, can still do many things including shaking a leg with the leader of the free world. However, one thing she can’t do is obtain a photo ID.
Republicans like to pretend it is no big deal to require ID at the voting booth, but McLaurin’s story is a perfect example of just how these laws can strip American citizens of their constitutional right to cast their ballots on election day.
Speaking to the Washington Post, McLaurin explained that bureaucratic bullshit has made it all but impossible for her to get a photo ID. She lost her photo ID long ago. To get a new one she has to produce her birth certificate from South Carolina for the DC Department of Motor Vehicles. To get a copy of her birth certificate she needs a photo ID. And this all assumes that South Carolina even has a record of her birth at all since she was born more than a hundred years ago.
I don’t think I’ll ever get that face card,” she said. “I was birthed by a midwife and the birthday put in a Bible somewhere. I don’t know if they even had birth certificates back then.
Luckily, McLaurin lives in Washington, DC, which doesn’t have restrictive voting ID laws, otherwise, she wouldn’t be able to vote either.
“I’d pray long and hard to my God if they ever tried to do something like that to me,” she told the Post.
The DMV has finally issued McLaurin a temporary ID, but South Carolina will not accept it for her to get a copy of her birth certificate.
It’s sad to see my mother having to stand in lines, getting tired,” said Felipe Cardoso, McLaurin’s son. “She can’t understand how her picture could be in all those newspapers and all over the Internet, how so many people could recognize her on the street and want to take selfies with her, and she can’t even get a photo ID.
It is surprising how many people are oblivious to the multitudes of stories just like McLaurin’s. Republicans like to say that these laws protect our elections from voter fraud, which is a problem that doesn’t even exist, but they know exactly what they are doing. These laws simply serve to keep people from voting, particularly the poor, the elderly, and minorities; all groups that are likely to vote Democrat and are disproportionately affected by the conservative attacks on voting rights.
Featured image via video screen capture