San Antonio, Texas, resident Mary Lou Miller is 101. That’s one-hundred-one years old. How should someone who makes it past the century mark be honored? A ticker tape parade? Awarding them the key to the city? Tell them they never have to pay taxes again? Texas honored Mary Lou Miller by taking away her right to vote.
Texas passed a strict voter ID law in 2011. Republicans claim that they wanted to protect “the integrity of the vote.” Many others say that the intent was to suppress the votes of those who would be likely to vote for Democrats. Voters have to produce one of only a few limited types of identification in order to be allowed to vote. Miller doesn’t have any of the allowed types of ID.
Miller tells her story at MySA. She talks about being seven years old when the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote, was ratified. When she turned 21 in 1934, Miller says she registered to vote. She describes her involvement with elections over the years.
I have not only participated in the electoral process by voting in almost all elections, I have also registered voters, taken voters to the polls, conducted voter education programs, and worked to ensure that all have the right to vote and have their vote counted.
Recently, San Antonio had a runoff election for mayor. Miller had every intention of continuing that record of voting that goes back to 1934. She says that she usually votes by mail now, as she lives in an assisted living facility. But in between the time she requested a mail-in ballot, and the election, she moved from one assisted living facility to another. She says she wasn’t aware that the post office doesn’t forward mail-in ballots.
What happened to Miller next is an example of the ridiculous lengths some Texans are being forced to go to in order to cast a ballot. Because she no longer has a driver’s license, or any of the other approved forms of identification, she could not vote in person when she went to a polling place for early voting. So, the week of the election, someone took her to a Texas Department of Public Safety office, to get an approved photo ID.
Miller says that when she got there, she found that she needed a Texas driver’s license that had expired within two years, a passport, a military ID, or a “parole document.” She has none of those. However, she could still get the ID if she could produce two documents from a secondary document list, or one from that list, plus two “supporting identification documents.” She says that she had some of those, but not enough to meet the requirements to get an ID.
It took Miller five hours, including travel, to attempt to get an ID card so she could vote, and in the end she was unsuccessful. San Antonio has a new mayor, but Mary Lou Miller didn’t get to have her say in the process.
This should make everyone mad as hell. It’s going on in Texas, and in a number of other states that have implemented similar laws. It’s not that Miller didn’t have any identifying documents. She certainly has some sort of identification connected to the assisted living facility where she resides. It’s that she didn’t have the proper combination of documents to satisfy the state of Texas. How many Mary Lou Millers are out there in the various states that are now requiring voters to jump through multiple hoops, and maybe even wrestle an alligator or two, in order to exercise the right to vote? Even one is too many.
Featured image via Wealth Daily