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A Senior's Struggle with Photo ID Law

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Last week, I tagged along while my wife took her mom, Bonnie, to the DMV so she could get a photo on her valid driver's license.    Sixteen states have recently enacted restrictive voting laws, and Tennessee is doing its part by requiring most people (although there are exceptions, which I'll mention later) to have a photo license to vote.    While it may not sound like a big deal; it was a very big deal for Bonnie.    She has fought back from two strokes in three years and suffers from high blood pressure and osteoporosis. Never-the-less, she was determined to make the trek in order to exercise her right to vote.

Arriving at the DMV, we quickly got a number; then sat down to wait" and wait.   After an hour, Bonnie was getting weak and, even though she wouldn't admit it; her back was hurting.   We finally figured out that you can go a kiosk to get processed for a new license.   You need to be pretty handy with touch screens to navigate through the IPads, and my wife and I got stuck on one question and had to ask for assistance.    After filling out multiple pages and paying an $8.00 fee with a credit card, we rejoined Bonnie in the waiting area.   In just a few minutes, Bonnie was called up to the desk to have her picture taken and issued a new "photo" license.

While Bonnie is a courageous woman, she physically wouldn't have been able to wait for multiple hours at the DMV, and she certainly wouldn't have been able to submit her request through the kiosk (all while standing up).     So, without help, Bonnie would not have been able to get her photo identification, which means her right to vote would have effectively been taken away.   I don't know how many more "Bonnies" are out there.    Tragically, there are many who don't have someone to take them to get a photo ID, or may not be able to wait for hours at the DMV, or have an extra $8.00.

I could understand this inconvenience if Tennessee was having a problem with voter ID fraud.    However, at most, there have only been a couple of isolated cases.   The major fraud this year involved a RNC consulting group that dropped off fake voter registrations in Florida; and this law wouldn't prevent that.    No, this law has nothing to do with voter fraud and everything to do with suppressing the vote of minorities and the poor, groups that often vote Democrat.   Because hunters tend to vote Republican, this carefully crafted law allows an expired hunting license from another state (with no photo) to serve as an ID.    But not Bonnie's valid Tennessee driver's license.

Senior citizens may have been the unintended victims of this blatantly political legislation.    But, like so many other minority groups who are least able to defend themselves, they are suffering the consequences.     Not only is this bad legislature, it's immoral, and Republican lawmakers should be ashamed of themselves for playing politics with democracy.    I can only hope that others affected by this law will show the same determination Bonnie did, and fight for their right to vote.    And while I don't know whom Bonnie will vote for, I have a feeling she will remember who made her make an unnecessary trip to the DMV.   

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Jeff Fulmer is the author of the book, Hometown Prophet.    To see a video of "Bonnie's Trip to the DMV," click on the link at the top of the page, or go to the Hometown Prophet website ( and click on "Visit Our Blog."  

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I am the author of the book and the blog, "Hometown Prophet. If God spoke through a prophet today, would we really want to hear what He has to say?

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This article also appeared in The Tennessean this ... by Jeff Fulmer on Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 8:06:58 AM
I want to start by making it clear " I AM A SENIOR... by catherine diamond on Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 9:41:42 AM
Did you read my piece? Did you watch the video? ... by Jeff Fulmer on Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 10:31:40 AM
Reply to Jeff,   Yes Jeff, I read your arti... by catherine diamond on Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 11:35:33 AM
Why is it insulting your intelligence to blame Rep... by Jeff Fulmer on Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 1:18:10 PM
You don't need a drivers license to have a state I... by MadAngel on Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 9:13:07 AM
As I mentioned in the article, a hunter's license ... by Jeff Fulmer on Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 10:34:55 AM
I wonder if any type of government issued photo ID... by Ben Gardner on Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 1:06:03 PM
Most people don't realize how hard this seemingly ... by Kim Cassidy on Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 10:07:52 AM
Thanks Kim.  I'm sorry for your situation.&nb... by Jeff Fulmer on Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 10:41:22 AM
I am very sorry to hear about the ordeal that Bonn... by Howard Schneider on Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 2:36:08 PM
Thanks Howard... The responses I've gotten on this... by Jeff Fulmer on Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 5:27:24 PM
Jeff, I don't agree completly with you. I belie... by catherine diamond on Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 2:43:06 PM
The bill wasn't meant to hurt seniors, but it does... by Jeff Fulmer on Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 5:34:53 PM
Earlier on, you asked me, " Did I read your ... by catherine diamond on Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 6:49:41 PM
Actually, 'illegal' immigrants do pay sales, prope... by Jeff Fulmer on Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 10:50:43 PM
Get a grip Jeff,   What are you saying??&nb... by catherine diamond on Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012 at 6:21:00 AM
This breaks down the amount of undocumented worker... by Jeff Fulmer on Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012 at 9:38:37 AM
It's an idea who's time has come. It is not racist... by FrankieC on Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 4:18:56 PM
 It's an idea whose time has come because it'... by Jeff Fulmer on Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 5:20:55 PM
doesn't make it true. Just about everything in you... by Rob Kall on Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 9:46:27 PM
You see, the difference between me and you is I ca... by Jeff Fulmer on Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 11:00:05 PM
@Jeff Fulmer (and anyone else with a brain bigger ... by Ned Lud on Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012 at 7:08:54 AM