Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Bill would disproportionately impact senior WV voters

WV Seniors take note: a bill, HB 4013, that imposes new barriers to voting has passed our state House of Delegates and is currently in the Senate Judiciary committee.

"For elections after January 1, 2018, the person desiring to vote shall present to one of the poll clerks an identifying document meeting the requirements of subdivision (1) of this subsection; and, the poll clerk shall inspect and confirm that the name on the identifying document conforms to the name in the individual's voter registration record and that the image displayed is truly an image of the person presenting the document."

Seniors and people who do not drive are among those who are more likely to be prevented from being able to vote if this measure passes since they are less likely to have a drivers license, the most likely form of identification that will be used by successful voters. At WV Senior Legal Aid we have served several senior West Virginians who have moved here, many moving back home to retire after careers spent in other states, and have had trouble producing the necessary documentation to get a drivers license in WV. Because of the new identity documentation requirements post-USA PATRIOT Act getting or renewing a drivers license has become more difficult. It is not uncommon for seniors who may have had drivers licenses for decades to not be able to fulfill these documentation requirements. For example, many people in their 60's, 70's, and beyond have never had birth certificates. Older women may also have trouble getting Social Security cards with their married or divorced names on them. Past practices at the Social Security administration allowed people to get new cards for name changes without documentation or changing the name in their Social Security record. New policies don't permit that, so women who changed their names may have to produce documentation from decades ago, pre-internet and pre-computerization, including divorce decrees or other court ordered name changes.

You can see the text of the bill here and the status of the bill here


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