NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Nashville woman says she has been unable to obtain photo identification, and now she's afraid she won't be able to vote.
Cora Beach told The Tennessean she has been to driver service centers three times, only to be turned down for an ID. The first time she lacked a birth certificate. She had one sent from Selma, Ala., and went back.
This time she was turned away from two different centers because she lacked the two marriage licenses that tie her maiden name, Cora Jones, to her current name. One of those licenses is in Toledo, Ohio and Beach said she is not sure she has the time or resources to track it down before Election Day. The 56-year-old lives on disability payments and requires dialysis for kidney failure.
Michael Hogan, director of the Department of Safety's Driver Service Division, said driving center workers were correct to deny Beach a photo ID despite having a birth certificate, apartment rental lease, Social Security card, Medicaid card and Davidson County voting card.
"Those documents have to line up," Hogan said. "What happens is, particularly with women, whenever they marry, their legal name is now the name of their husband."
Hogan said marriage certificates, divorce decrees and certified court orders are used to connect a woman's maiden name to her current last name.
"I'm trying to get some help because I've been voting all these years," Beach said. She has sought legal advice but is concerned that it may now be too late to obtain the documents she needs.
Longtime civil rights attorney George Barrett, who has tried to help Beach, said of her situation, "It shows how oppressive this voter ID law is, and how it really is, in effect, disenfranchising people."
Barrett challenged the constitutionality of Tennessee's voter identification law in court. The Tennessee Court of Appeals last week upheld the law but agreed to allow photo Memphis library cards to be used to vote. The state has appealed that decision.
Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press