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Woman, 92, Denied Photo ID to Vote for Lack of Birth Certificate

Ruby Barber's situation is typical of the hundreds of thousands of registered voters in Texas who don't have a photo ID necessary to cast a ballot under a state GOP law.
 
 
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Ruby Barber (bradblog.com)

 
 
 
 

This article first appeared on BradBlog.

Here is just one more of the hundreds of thousands of reasons that have led the U.S. Dept. of Justice to file suit against Texas Republicans' polling place photo ID restriction law.

The same law had been previously blocked by the DoJ and again by a federal court under the federal Voting Rights Act, after the state's own data showed the law discriminated against racial minorities and others, while failing to deter actual voter fraud in the state.

But, literally minutes after SCOTUS gutted the heart of the Voting Rights Act last Summer, the section which was used to strike down the law previously, Texas Republicans announced their intention to re-enact the law which, of course, they knew to be discriminatory.

As the Waco Tribune reports, 92-year-old Ruby Barber has tried, but has so far failed, to obtain one of those so-called "free" photo IDs from the Texas Dept. of Public Safety (DPS), now that one is required for her to cast her legal vote this year, as she had for decades, until now, without a problem.

Barber's story is heartbreaking and maddening but, unfortunately, probably not entirely rare. The DoJ estimated, based on the state's supplied data when the federal agency blocked the law in 2012, "the total number of registered voters [in Texas] who lack a driver's license or personal identification card issued by DPS could range from 603,892 to 795,955."

Barber's driver's license expired in 2010 and she's now having difficulty locating "her nearly century-old birth certificate that she'd need to obtain a voter ID under a new state law." As the New York Daily News reports, the details of Barber's story and her fight to try and cast her vote are simply absurd...

A frail 92-year-old woman is the latest victim of new voter identification laws sweeping across the U.S.

Ruby Barber, a senior citizen in the small town of Bellmead, Texas, has been unable to vote because she can't find her nearly century-old birth certificate that she'd need to obtain a voter ID under a new state law.

"I'm sure (my birth) was never reported because I was born in a farmhouse with a coal oil lamp," Barber, 92, told the Waco (Texas) Tribune. "Didn't have a doctor, just a neighbor woman come in and (delivered) me."

Barber visited the state's Department of Public Safety office last week to request the newly required election identification certificate, but was declined after she didn't have a birth certificate.

Under Texas's new strict voter ID law, enacted in June 2013, all voters must show one of six forms of valid photo identification - including a driver's license, a passport, a military ID or concealed gun permit - to be able to vote.

Those who lack a valid photo ID, can apply for an election identification certificate (EIC) - a process that requires a birth certificate or other proof of citizenship.

Barber, unfortunately, no longer has any of the documents she'd need to obtain a ballot.

According to the Tribune, her driver's license expired in 2010 and her marriage license was lost in a 1992 house fire.

She took her Medicare card, Social Security card and expired driver's license to state officials when she sought her EIC, but agency staff insisted she needed to provide a birth certificate.

"I've voted all my life, and not to be able to vote, it just breaks my heart," Barber said of the possibility that she may not able to vote in this year's Texas gubernatorial election - expected to be a close race between Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis.

 
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