87-Year-Old Woman Turned Away from WI Polling Booth Despite Courts' Decision to Suspend Voter ID

 Two Wisconsin state courts have declared Wisconsin’s Voter ID law unconstitutional under the state constitution. Moreover, as one of the two judges to do so pointed out, the law already disenfranchised voters during the short time it is in effect — including a Marine veteran and a 84 year-old former elected official. Yesterday, it also appears to have disenfranchised one more elderly voter, despite the fact that the law is supposed to be suspended due to the multiple court decisions against it:

It took persistence – and a second trip to her Waukesha polling place – by a 63-year-old Waukesha woman to vote Tuesday. But she said her 87-year-old mother who couldn’t make the trip back was disenfranchised by a poll worker who asked to see a photo ID.

Wisconsin’s new voter ID law was in place for the February primary but not for Tuesday’s general election after a judge ruled it was unconstitutional. The photo ID requirement is on hold while the matter is appealed. . . .

The woman said she and her mother had moved to Waukesha last May and registered to vote at Waukesha City Hall in January. They went to their Waukesha West High School poll Tuesday but were asked to show identification – which her mother hadn’t brought with her. Her own driver’s license had an out-of-date address on it, she said.

“We were listed on their friggin’ poll list,” she said, “and yet we had our names highlighted.” The poll worker said maybe they didn’t register in time, though they clearly had.

As a new Center for American Progress Report points out, elderly voters are frequently the victims of Voter ID laws. A short list of older voters who have been kept from the polls by these laws include Paul Carroll, a 86-year-old World War II veteran from Ohio; Dorothy Cooper, a 96-year-old African-American woman from Tennessee, and Thelma Mitchell a 93-year-old woman who cleaned the Tennessee Capitol for 30 years.

Yesterday, however, probably marks the first time an elderly voter was disenfranchised by a voter ID law that isn’t even supposed to be in effect.

Think Progress / By Ian Millhiser

Posted at April 4, 2012, 9:37am