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Downtown of Chattanooga, Tennessee

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She started voting before many of us were born.  In 70 years, she has voted in every Presidential election except one.  But unless more reasonable and saner heads prevail in Tennessee, 96-year-old Dorothy Cooper will be denied the vote in the coming election for President, all due to a clerk’s snafu, a mistake that the state so far is unwilling to correct.

Tennessee is one of several states which now require a DMV photo ID in order to vote (39 states are considering, or have already passed, the same laws).  For many of us, producing a driver’s license is no problem.  But for many older citizens, like Ms. Cooper who never learned how to drive a car, it is a problem.  Standing on long lines and putting up with automaton clerks, like the one Ms. Cooper encountered, are bad enough.  But then, after all that, being turned away and told to come back again when they have the proper documentation is physically and emotionally demanding on a person of any age, let alone a nonagenarian.

Ms. Cooper is a retired domestic worker and resident of Tennessee.  She was born in Georgia and moved to Tennessee for work where she has been voting since she was in her 20’s.  The only Presidential election she recalls ever missing was for John F. Kennedy in 1960 because a move to Nashville prevented her from registering in time.  Ms. Cooper never had any need to obtain a DMV license before, until now.

Ms. Cooper, who was accompanied by an assistant, believed that she brought all necessary documentation to the registration office, including a rent receipt, her voter registration card, her lease, social security card, and birth certificate.  The clerk however, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press who evidently broke the story, denied Ms. Cooper because she didn’t have her marriage certificate to prove her name change from her maiden name on the birth certificate to Cooper on her other documentation.

“I never had problems,” Ms. Cooper told Reverend Al Sharpton on MSNBC’s PoliticsNation on Thursday, not even during the infamous Jim Crow era.  “I never thought it would be like this,” she said, “ever.”

Ms. Cooper told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that even though she has been asked for a photo ID when she writes a check buying groceries, that store clerks accept her social security card in lieu of a DMV card.

“‘Sometimes they’ll say, do you have a social security card?'” Ms. Cooper told the Chattanooga Times Free Press, referring to store clerks, “and she shows it to them.”

Ms. Cooper also has a photo ID from the Chattanooga Police Department which is issued to seniors where she lives in Chattanooga.  But, this ID is evidently not good enough to satisfy voting officials.

Why?  One would think that a social security card and a police department photo ID would be good enough to prove identity and citizenship.  Citizens’ rights groups are currently involved in this individual case as well as with trying to amend or overturn Tennessee’s law as well as in other states with severe and unfair voting restrictions.

It’s a sad and terrible time when political cronies manipulate the system and states’ voting laws to try and slant the vote.  And, even if you believe that these current restrictions won’t affect you, realize that it’s only a matter of time because the corruption is on both sides.

The conservatives pushing friendly state legislatures and conservative governors to enact restrictive ID laws are just the current wave of voter registration corruption.  Remember four years ago with the fraudulent registrations from the other side?  Powerful (and many times corrupt) cronies work behind the scenes before and during every major election period.  Each side has individuals who will not let such concepts as “fairness” or “equality” get in the way to achieve their agendas.  These corrupt individuals will attempt to eliminate those from the voting rosters who have even the slightest potential of voting for the other side.

Let’s hope that voters’ rights activist groups are successful in the case of Ms. Cooper and for anyone else out there who is being unfairly eliminated from the voting rolls.  Perhaps, like in the case of Acorn from last election, it is time for the American People as well as government officials to investigate who those people are behind these new laws, and what monies are supporting these restrictions.

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