Let's take a moment as we wait for the next round in the voter ID battle to consider who might actually have their right to vote affected by this unneeded piece of partisan legislation.
Meet Bessie Jenkins Foster.
The 98-year-old African-American woman, who is recovering from gallbladder surgery and is hard of hearing, went to three different local Texas Department of Public Safety offices last week. And three times she was turned away without getting her card.
"I feel bad," said Foster, who at times has difficulty speaking. "To cash a check, or something, I need an ID card."
Foster is one of countless people nationwide having trouble getting a state-issued photo identification card -- the very kind that would be required to vote if a bill raging in the Texas Legislature becomes law.
Last week, Foster and [her daughter Robbie] Hamilton went to three DPS offices while they were running other errands. There, they presented Foster's driver's license that expired last July, along with her photo military identification, Social Security card and other documents.
They were told they needed Foster's birth certificate, but when they brought a copy, they were told they had to bring the original.
They don't have an original, though, and can't get one because the birth certificate was lost when a 1968 fire destroyed the Walker County Courthouse in Huntsville. So they brought a copy provided by the Texas Department of Heath's Bureau of Vital Statistics. But still had no luck.
Meet Vanessa Edwards Foster, and the issues that transitioning transsexuals have with ID cards.
Identity Matters!" -- TX State Sen, Florence Shapiro (R-Plano)
Both the transgender community and I couldn't agree with the good senator more! For well over a decade, the transgender community has been pushing for passage of a name and gender change bill that would make the process much easier (alleviating the need for attorneys, courts, the idiosyncratic judges and their individual "discretion," and especially the cost!) And for well over a decade, the legislature has ignored us. People transitioning, who have an ID in one gender but live as the other, will effectively be disallowed the vote per the Voter ID bill.
As Sen. Shapiro said in debate on the Senate floor, "we're just trying to make sure everyone's identification matches." Sen. Fraser as well reiterated, declaring "I just want to make sure this person is who they say they are!" The trans community has been attempting to facilitate that with our own for years, and yet it's these same partisans who've done nothing to attain that - zero. Therefore we have problems getting identification that matches our gender thanks to Texas' Republicans and other Democrats running in fear of them - and yet also have to listen to the likes of Sen. Fraser complain about identities that don't match!
Meet Matt Glazer. He was a victim of identity theft last year.
Credit cards were racked up in my name and they went as far as to attempt to take out student loans under my name.
The case is mostly resolved and soon my credit score and life should be back on track. However, my social security number is frozen and I am unable to get a new ID.
In the end, these three folks and everyone like them may wind up being able to vote. They'll just have a harder time of it, and some of them will be unable to get past the newly-erected barriers between them and the ballot box. That's what this is about - making it harder for a lot of legitimate voters to cast their ballots, so we can make it a little harder for a crime no one's been arrested for to be committed. How exactly does that make sense?Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 13, 2009 to That's our Lege