Jun 14, 2012

95-Year-Old Bayfield Woman Can’t Get A Voter ID

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin — Last year, nearly a dozen new states passed voter ID laws. These laws may have prevented the nine cases of voter impersonation that occurred between 2000 and 2007, but the Brennan Center estimates they could collectively disenfranchise more than three million people this year. In other words, for each case of voter impersonation these laws prevent, nearly 350,000 citizens may lose their right to vote.

By Scott Keyes

ThinkProgress traveled to Wisconsin recently to investigate how the new law, if allowed to stand by the state judiciary, would affect voters in the state. (Two judges recently blocked the law, but their ruling will be appealed.)

One Wisconsinite we spoke with, 95-year-old Florence Hessing of Bayfield, said that she’d voted in every election without any problems until voter ID was enacted. However, her driver’s license expired when she stopped driving at the age of 90 (she’s now half-blind) and because she was likely born via midwife, she didn’t have a birth certificate required to get a new photo ID. Lawyers were eventually able to find an exemption for Hessing that will ultimately allow her to vote, but thousands of other Wisconsinites might not be as lucky. Indeed, a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee study found that approximately 300,000 lack photo ID.

Watch a short video about Hessing and other potential victims of new Wisconsin’s voter ID law:
You can read about other people denied their voting rights by new voter ID laws here.

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