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Wisconsin Voter ID Law May Force 84-Year-Old Woman To Pay $200 To Get A Voter ID

Posted by on Dec. 6, 2011 at 11:26 AM
  • 10 Replies

Wisconsin Voter ID Law May Force 84-Year-Old Woman To Pay $200 To Get A Voter ID

Ruthelle Frank (Photo Credit: Central Wisconsin Sunday)

For 63 years, Brokaw, Wisconsin native Ruthelle Frank went to the polls to vote. Though paralyzed on her left side since birth, the 84-year-old “fiery woman” voted in every election since 1948 and even got elected herself as a member of the Brokaw Village Board. But because of the state’s new voter ID law, 2012 will be the first year Frank can’t vote. Born after a difficult birth at her home in 1927, Frank never received an official birth certificate. Her mother recorded it in her family Bible and Frank has a certification of baptism from a few months later, along with a Social Security card, a Medicare statement, and a checkbook. But without the official document, she can’t secure the state ID card that the new law requires to vote next year.

“It’s really crazy,” she added. “I’ve got all this proof. You mean to tell me that I’m not a U.S. citizen?” But state officials have informed Frank that, because the state Register of Deeds does have a record of her birth, they can issue her a new birth certificate — for a fee. And because of a spelling error, that fee may be as high as $200:

Though Frank never had a birth certificate, the state Register of Deeds in Madison has a record of her birth. It can generate a birth certificate for her — for a fee. Normally, the cost is $20.

“I look at that like paying a fee to vote,” Frank said.

And for Frank, that might not be the end of it. The attending physician at Frank’s birth misspelled her maiden name, which was Wedepohl. To get a birth certificate that has correct information, she will have to petition a court to amend the document — a weeks-long process that could cost $200 or more.

The State Vital Records Division advised frank to just pay the $20 for an incorrect birth certificate and cross her fingers that the DMV accepts it. “If she gets [the state ID], great!” officials said in an email. If not, they said “she can begin the lengthy, potentially costly process of getting the document fixed. Then she can return to the DMV and try again.”

Another state official suggested Frank claim she is “indefinitely confined,” a category that would grant her an exception under the law. “That would be real voter fraud,” said Frank. “I go down to the Village Hall for meetings. I get around ok.” She added, “I don’t want to be a liar” and “that would be lying.”

“It’s just stupid,” Frank said of the situation. A stupidity that numerous citizens like 96-year-old Dorothy Cooper and 86-year-old Darwin Spinks face on account of their own state’s voter ID restrictions. In Wisconsin, one study noted that “an estimated 177,399 Wisconsin residents 65 and older do not have a driver’s license or state photo ID — 23 percent of that population. The study estimated that another 98,247 residents ages 35 through 64 lack IDs,” particularly among minorities.

Thus, unfortunately, Frank does not face disenfranchisement alone. “I feel for other people out there” who don’t have the necessary IDs or certificates, Frank said. “I think they just won’t vote.”

by on Dec. 6, 2011 at 11:26 AM
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Replies (1-10):
cat0308
by on Dec. 6, 2011 at 11:36 AM
My question is -- how do you go that long without having a birth certificate?? You need one for so many things.
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tooptimistic
by Kelly on Dec. 6, 2011 at 12:37 PM

The dmv should accept that.. they can see she is older and of the age were her situation wasn't uncommon.

I believe that an ID should be required to vote.  I have to show ID to buy cold products, to take my child to the pedi, to pick up a child from school, to get a library card..



Javi05Eli07
by Member on Dec. 6, 2011 at 6:03 PM

As much as I a want to feel sorry for her and others in that situation, I can't.  She has had enough years to get a birth certificate and chose not to.  Now because she needs one, she wants to complain and throw it back on the government.

AdrianneHill
by Platinum Member on Dec. 6, 2011 at 6:33 PM
She only needed a birth cert now. She didn't need it before now as she didn't need a passport. The laws changed, not her behavior. Almost a quarter of the older generation do not a birth cert, that sounds like they didn't need one to get along until now. Don't assume what was SOP for your birth was SOP for their birth. And as a woman who was a stay at home mom, educated before all of the new restrictions put in place, her generation may have been grandfathered in until now.

I had a court case against me where they misspelled my name. I was told by my attorney and a clerk of court that it would take an act by state legislature to change it and it would cost a lot of money. It was not my fault someone made a mistake recording my name but it was my responsibility. I decided to leave it as I wanted my case finished as soon as possible. It may bite me one day but I followed legal advice and ignored it.
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GLWerth
by Gina on Dec. 6, 2011 at 7:15 PM

My grandmother and two of her five sisters never had birth certificates. They didn't need them until very recently.

_Kissy_
by on Dec. 7, 2011 at 12:01 AM

And where does that $200 go, exactly?

I'm 32 yrs old and can name maybe a couple of things I have even needed my birth certificate for..

Erimar23
by Gold Member on Dec. 7, 2011 at 12:10 AM

wow!....they are really trying to stop ppl from now days

how said when it's a RIGHT!

History is repeating itself

Erimar23
by Gold Member on Dec. 7, 2011 at 12:12 AM


Quoting tooptimistic:

The dmv should accept that.. they can see she is older and of the age were her situation wasn't uncommon.

I believe that an ID should be required to vote.  I have to show ID to buy cold products, to take my child to the pedi, to pick up a child from school, to get a library card..



some college kids tried to vote with their college ID at the college they attend and was told no

but someone with a GUN licences can vote....smdh!

tooptimistic
by Kelly on Dec. 7, 2011 at 1:32 AM


Quoting Erimar23:


Quoting tooptimistic:

The dmv should accept that.. they can see she is older and of the age were her situation wasn't uncommon.

I believe that an ID should be required to vote.  I have to show ID to buy cold products, to take my child to the pedi, to pick up a child from school, to get a library card..



some college kids tried to vote with their college ID at the college they attend and was told no

but someone with a GUN licences can vote....smdh!

You'd have to have a birth cerificate for school so it should count.  Are they not accepting student id's because you don't have to be a legal citizen to attend school?  I know here at the local colleges (unc and duke) there are alot of foreign kids.  Maybe that's why they needed another form of id.

I have a gun licence.  It took more than a drivers license to get.  I had to take a class, pass the test  I had to show forms of id, give them my social, go through a criminal background check, prove I was an American citizen etc.. 

OutlawMUA
by on Dec. 7, 2011 at 2:57 AM
I don't have one, for the same reason.

I was able to join the military even, though there were many hoops to jump through.


Quoting cat0308:

My question is -- how do you go that long without having a birth certificate?? You need one for so many things.
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