and that's the whole point

Tennessee Denies ‘Voting ID’ To 96-Year-Old Black Lady

The Montgomery Method, coming soon to the South, but hopefully this time with more Violence.Racist Republicans in Tennessee have their first success with the new “Voter ID” requirement: A 96-year-old black lady who has voted in all but one election (in 1960) that she was legally eligible to vote in has been denied the right to take part in democracy. Why? Oh, just some piece of missing paperwork. That’s the point of “Voter ID,” to stop people you don’t want voting — the poor, minorities, take your pick! — on a technicality. This is how so many black Americans were denied the vote in the South for a hundred years after being “emancipated.”

Dorothy Cooper, who worked her whole life as a housemaid, went down to see the authorities because she’d heard Tennessee’s racist new law would require a pile of documents for those who tried to vote in the future. And she was denied a Voter ID by a clerk at the counter, just as planned by the evil legislators who approved the law:

That morning, Cooper slipped a rent receipt, a copy of her lease, her voter registration card and her birth certificate into a Manila envelope. Typewritten on the birth certificate was her maiden name, Dorothy Alexander.

“But I didn’t have my marriage certificate,” Cooper said Tuesday afternoon, and that was the reason the clerk said she was denied a free voter ID at the Cherokee Boulevard Driver Service Center.

“I don’t know what difference it makes,” Cooper said.

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We know what difference it makes. Dorothy Cooper is African-American. Occupy Chattanooga. Take everything from the rich whites and give it to the poor blacks. [Times Free Press via Wonkette op "Matt N."]

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About the author

A writer and editor of this website from 2006 to early 2012, Ken Layne is occassionally seen on Twitter and writes small books and is already haunting you from beyond (your) grave.

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171 comments

  1. johnnymeatworth

    Are we going back in time? What the shit is going on here??? I'm halfway expecting to see those longhaired limeys The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show when I get home tonight….

    1. Tundra Grifter

      Make sure your marriage certificate is the proper long form one.

      Does anyone else remember the YouTube video linked to here on Wonkette – the lady who took her son to get a "Free ID" that would have cost $25 if she didn't know what she was doing because the clerk (rhymes with jerk) didn't mention there was a free one? And the son had to produce his checking account statement for christsakes.

    2. flamingpdog

      Even if she finds her marriage certificate and takes it back in, they'll just ask her for her long-form marriage certificate.

    3. Biel_ze_Bubba

      Lady's been married twice, and probably not in Chattanooga … so she needs to track down TWO certificates, from distant cities, to prove that she's who she says she is.

      And the GOP pricks insist there's "no barrier" (funny how it's always Republicunts passing these laws).

      1. horsedreamer_1

        Ru Paul and Al Sharpton need to join forces and lead Occupy Chattanooga.

        "You got your politics in my tranvestism!"

        "You got your transvestism in my politics!"

        Epic win when MSNBC and Logo join forces. Ergo, Maddow, too, also.

  2. memzilla

    G-d damn it, do we have to implement Occupy [City] Demonstrations and Freedom Rides at the same time to where these Rethuglican racist f**tard a**hats live before they get the message???

    1. finallyhappy

      I was too young to be a Freedom Rider but now I am retired and I would be willing to go to the South and fight for civil rights this time.

    2. mayor_quimby

      You can fucking curse on here, especially when fucking bullshit like this is going on in the goddamn world. (but I admire your restraint)
      Seriously isn't this some sort of equal protection violation since men don't change their names?
      There's still never been a case of anybody double voting or whatever these assholes are on about.
      Maybe it's just time I started printing fake birth certificates, for freedom.

    1. memzilla

      As I said earlier, it's time to build a big fence and close the border. And by "border," I mean the Mason-Dixon Line. We will have a generous amnesty program for refugees. Austin, and similar cities, will be declared Open Cities.

      1. LesBontemps

        The airlift costs to supply Austin over the long haul are not sustainable. Simpler to just evacuate the city and relocate residents to Madison or Ann Arbor.

      2. HistoriCat

        Fuck that. It's time for zombie Sherman to rise up and lead zombie Union troops. And this time, hang the traitors.

        1. mayor_quimby

          I'm down with that, I'm about a mile outside the ATL city limits, so light this bitch on fire! And no, we won't send our fire trucks to help.
          Do I have to be a zombie to put my Zippo to good use?

  3. kissawookiee

    She's been Voting While Black for decades in Tennessee? Why, lock her up! Lock her up right now before the others start getting ideas!

  4. MittsHairHelmet

    WTF is a "Voter ID"? Is that like a liquor ID you can get so you can buy booze even when your driver's license has been suspended after multiple DUIs?

  5. Arken

    How can I say something snarky when this is so fucking sickening? God damn it, Wonkette, I come to you so I can make cynical commentary.

  6. freakishlywrong

    Shit. Time to fire up ACORN and get the NBP on the march. Whitey is getting all uppity and racist-y again.

    1. NorthStarSpanx

      And she also needed to jump down, turn-around and pick a bail of cotton to satisfy their other arbitrary criteria.

    2. Arken

      Somewhat off-topic, I heard a fascinating interview on the local public radio station recently with an academic who had written a book about how interracial marriages being more widely accepted has affected the black community. Generally, for whatever reason, black men tend to be the partner in interracial couples and black women tend to marry within their race. This has led to a smaller pool of black men for black women to choose from and it has increased the number of unmarried black women significantly.

      Of course, none of that would apply to a 96-year-old black woman.

      1. mayor_quimby

        Yes, this is quite broadly true. I keep telling sisters to make the leap, but they just don't listen. Personally, I don't care what color you are as long as you're hot on the outside. (there's another vulgar joke there that I'll skip over)
        I do know of a few black women who said fuck it once they hit their 30's because they kept getting on by white guys, but most don't get down with the swirl.

        And back to the original subject, if I was a 96 year old black woman being denied the vote, there would be quite the 2nd amendment exercise until I got my registration.

  7. Arken

    Wait, wait, I got one!

    She should have brought the long form marriage certificate.

    Okay, I feel better now.

  8. SpiderCrab

    She should not be permitted to vote, because she will vote her self-interest. That's plain wrong.

  9. Barb

    The clerk probably has a bug up their ass about marriage after losing their trailer in divorce court to their wife/cousin.

  10. johnnyzhivago

    About a year or so ago, I was at a NJ Motor Vehicles Office and there was a nice old lady (white) in front of me trying to get her "6 points of identification" verified. She was missing her marriage license and was about 90 years old and it was getting more and more upsetting. She had been married in Staten Island and the nimrods behind the counter were going back and forth about how she had to go to the "Staten Island County" bureau of records. She tried to explain that she tried and there was no "Staten Island County" but didn't know the specifics. I jumped into the conversation at this point and explained that Staten Island is Richmond County (even most New Yorkers probably don't know this). At this point security comes over and everyone is screaming and they tell me I'm an idiot there's no such thing as Richmond County.

    After about 15 more minutes of attempts to call or contact the "Staten Island County Offices"- the old lady is tears – someone gets off the phone and says "Honey it's Richmond County you have to call". Grrrr…..

    1. flamingpdog

      As an almost 32-year gubmint employee who loves and respects most of his fellow gubmint employees, I do have to say that gubmint does seem to have a strong equal-employment opportunity policy for stoopid people.

  11. Antispandex

    You know what would work just as well? They could just put in an up-front fee for voting. I don't know, I guess they could call it a poll tax. That would be OK, if it was to cover the costs of voting and such. Right? I mean, we aren't socialists here.

    1. An_Outhouse

      The fee could probably be waved for white people since we know they came from Europe originally.

  12. Ducksworthy

    It appears that Him Crow is alive and well. It looks to me like the evil Karma of slavery will finally sink this country.

  13. NorthStarSpanx

    What could we do to compensate the Bureau for all the extra effort of making sure Dorothy is on the up-and-up? A fee? A tax? A poll tax? Literacy tests? DOMA Sexual Accountability Partners?

  14. veritass

    I had no idea Georgia was basing their polling identification on the pinnacle of efficiency that is automobile impound-lot procedures.

  15. NorthStarSpanx

    “But I didn’t have my marriage certificate,” Cooper said Tuesday afternoon, and that was the reason the clerk said she was denied a free voter ID at the Cherokee Boulevard Driver Service Center.

    Ooohhhh, so that's why Bristol didn't try and vote for her very own Mama Grizzly. . .

  16. KeepFnThatChicken

    That morning, Cooper slipped a rent receipt, a copy of her lease, her [goddamn motherfuckin'] voter registration card and her birth certificate into a Manila envelope.

    Emphasis mine… because in western Tennessee, where I am, that is ALL YOU FUCKING NEED.

    1. Oblios_Cap

      That'll disqualify most of the Teatards, so I have mixed feelings about that.

      Maybe signmaking?

  17. freakishlywrong

    This fits in neatly with my theory. Rethugs have every intention of stealing the elections in 2012. I think they rigged 2010 as well. The reason the clarion klaxon went out for Christie to run is simple. No one, and I mean no one, is going to believe for a second a President Perry or Romney. They needed someone "moderate" so the race would be really tight; that would give them cover to cheat. The media has already thoroughly embraced this meme. They needed someone who could almost, reasonably win, with the media aiding and abetting by prattling about "anger".

    So, now they'll just suppress anyone who even looks like they're thinking about voting (D). And they'll also cheat.

  18. BaldarTFlagass

    And if her husband has passed on, in addition to the marriage certificate, she will need his death certificate, a copy of his will, and his mummified corpse in order to get her Voter ID. What, he was cremated? Too bad, so sad; just go home and watch the returns on TV.

  19. Indiepalin

    If anything, this naive woman owes Sarah Palin a vote of thanks for keeping her away from the death panels.

  20. Lascauxcaveman

    Well, I'm sorta relieved. That's one less old lady I'm gonna have to drive to the polls on election day. Try to think positive, people!

    1. mayor_quimby

      You jest, but I am considering volunteering to do just that, even though my state is redder than … um…. uh… a very red thing.

  21. user-of-owls

    "If it was good enough for South Africa under apartheid, it's good enough for us."

    –Tennessee

  22. philpjfry

    And to think, I almost moved to Tennessee. How much fucking voter fraud is there in the country? And how much is committed by 96 year old women? So frustrating when drones are devoid of common sense.

    1. SorosBot

      "How much fucking voter fraud is there in the country?"

      None, at least with any evidence; the voter ID laws are presented as a solution to a non-existent problem used to try and mask their real goal of suppressing minority voting, but we can see through it.

  23. BerkeleyBear

    On the one hand, I know exactly why she was denied, and so does Ken. Without the marriage certificate there is no legal proof of her name change from birth name to married (because women, but not men, are still presumed to change their names in marriage in some states, which is sexist bs but whatever). The State Department routinely denies people passports and visas over shit like this, and I know it is an issue for getting a driver's license for women generally. To get my last driver's license I had to have 2 pieces of proof of address, my passport, my license from my last state, my birth certificate and my social security card. It only felt like I had to give blood, too. So the sheer burden is pretty universal these days for getting a state ID.

    At the same time, it is precisely the pain in the ass nature of getting stuff like this that makes the voter ID rules total bullshit designed to weed out minorities, poor people and the homeless/transient (ie the "wrong" people/non-GOP voters). Now, if you want it to end tomorrow, get a collection of poor people and pay them 10 bucks an hour to occupy the DMV trying to get IDs for a week. You'll have people screaming to repeal the laws.

    1. Ken Layne

      "On the one hand, I know exactly why she was denied, and so does Ken. Without the marriage certificate there is no legal proof of her name change from birth name to married (because women, but not men, are still presumed to change their names in marriage in some states, which is sexist bs but whatever)."

      Wrong. Her Tennessee voter registration card has her married name. "Exactly why she was denied" is because she is black. This is the intended policy, which is why it was opposed by the Democrats in the TN state senate.

      1. BerkeleyBear

        Then I gave you too much credit, Ken. It is a chain of title style issue. The birth certificate has name A. The VR has name B. She doesn't have the legal document that proves the change from A to B. Requiring that actual document is routine for a lot of things, including getting driver's license or a passport. That's why you can't legally infer racial intent from this sort of requirement. Which in turn makes it a perfect vehicle for disenfranchisement efforts.

        BTW, don't limit it to race. A poor white woman could have exactly the same problem. Again, that's what makes this so insidious. You may think its about race, but you can't prove it to the level you'd need to under the VRA (section 2 at least) and the smug fucks who passed the law can point to all the legitimate uses of similar requirements.

        1. SarahsBush

          I'm a male and changed my name when I was married. I've only had to show my marriage license once: to update my Social Security card. I can't recall any subsequent form of ID that required it as long as I had some other valid ID. I didn't even need it for my passport, but I did need the birth certificate.

          1. BerkeleyBear

            Interesting. That's in line with what I heard from a colleague who was researching this issue for publication – it never seems to treat men the same. In a lot of states, in fact, women have to specifically clarify they aren't changing their names when they marry, but have to present the marriage certificate if they do use the new name.

    2. johnnyzhivago

      The funny thing is that women like my wife who didn't change her name have an equal and opposite pile of b.s. to contend with – not to mention the bizzare nonsense I end up dealing with as well. Like when the Subaru dealer wanted my marriage license in order to apply our extended warranty to my wife's car when I paid for the service with my credit card..

      I mean really, what is the reason in this day and age not to have one universal ID and use it for life??

      1. sati_demise

        Wait until they micro chip all of us like dogs. Its just about the size of a grain of rice, you know, installed under the skin with a needle. Vaccination, micro chip.

        1. finallyhappy

          I would not object. Pretty sure that having worked for the Feds- everything about me is known. I had a co-worker who would not write down her weight because she said "they" would think she was anorexic. I told her that a) " they" know her weight and b) she really was not that thin. She didn't talk to me much after that but as she was fairly crazy-I did not care.

    3. Sue4466

      At one point, the SS Admin changed my date of birth incorrectly. It was an obvious transcription error that combined my birth and wedding dates. They told me it was impossible to change my birthdate to the correct date without my birth certificate and marriage license. That no SS record could be changed without documentation. When I pointed out that obviously that wasn't true since my birthdate had been changed by someone in their office to an incorrect date, dead silence. It took hours to get that resolved. Still bitter about it too.

    4. Chichikovovich

      There should be a name change record in the Social Security files, shouldn't there? How hard would it be to make this available to DMV's if permission is given by the holder of the SS number?

      Perhaps there is some obstacle I don't know about, but without information about that, it would seem that a) yes – one could easily document name changes with social security data b) the fact that they haven't taken the trivial step to remove that obstacle suggests that they like having it there.

      1. Redhead

        "How hard would it be to make this available to DMV's if permission is given by the holder of the SS number? "

        I don't know but I wish they would. Last time I went to renew my driver's license, I was told that I had an outstanding ticket in another state (that I'd never been to) that I'd have to pay before I could renew my license. Even though the ticket had been written over two decades ago. Even though I was 25 – meaning I would have been about 2 when the ticket was written. The woman told me it had PROBABLY just been someone with the same name as me, but since they couldn't access the SS numbers of me and the woman who got the ticket, she couldn't be sure. After discussing it for a WHILE, she finally conceded that no, I could not possibly have gotten a speeding ticket at the age of 2, and let me renew my license.

    1. DahBoner

      "Possible Al Queda Link"

      Yup, she knows a cracker named "Al" over in Carter County, Bitter End, Tennennesse.

      "Bitter End"???

      Sounds pretty Muslim-y to me…

  24. metamarcisf

    The reason these bureaucrats had to see the marriage license was because she is registered to vote under a different name than is on her (forged) birth certificate. However, if she'd been a man all she would have had to do was submit her circumcision certificate.

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      And isn't that the real pisser … she's ALREADY registered to vote. Now they want to take that away.

  25. Blueb4sunrise

    I just don't understand what this so -called ' old lady' is complaining about. Help me out here CNN.

  26. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    You all are so cynical. I'm sure that Tennessee is denying voter IDs to rich white women who don't present their marriage certificates too.

    1. chascates

      In that case the potential voter might be asked to name 5 famous Tennessee Civil War generals instead.

  27. spinozasgod

    I live WI where the republican congress and gubner Walker passed a new vorer ID bill. Only drivers licenses and new state IDs can be used. You need your birth certificate and SS card as well as proof of address like a utility bill to get a state ID. It is free, as long as you remind them, otherwise they charge you. They tried to sneak through a bill that would have closed DMVs in democratic districts(the few that are left after the redistricting)and lengthened the hours of the DMVs in republican districts, but they got caught and pulled back. But, of couse, this is all to prevent voter fraud…….

    1. horsedreamer_1

      It was fun hearing one of the Gov's kids's classmates rip on them, and him, this weekend.

      If Scooter has lost reliably Republican Wauwatosa, which is his base, he's not long for his wife's cotillions at the Governor's mansion.

  28. SheriffRoscoe

    Her fault for insisting that she take her husband's name when she got married. See? All this could have easily been avoided if she'd been smarter.

  29. BaldarTFlagass

    "Since you are an old black lady, we have a pretty good idea of who you will vote for, so we'd just as soon you didn't vote. Thanks for coming in, though."

  30. Bonzos_Bed_Time

    So is there still an Office of Civil Rights? If so, it's gone waaaay down hill since Clarence Thomas left.

  31. CapnFatback

    From the story:

    Cooper's younger sister, now 91, lives in a nursing home across town. Nursing home residents and assisted living residents are exempt from the new photo ID requirement.

    But Cooper, who barely needs a walker, is not.

    Well, there's your trouble right there; she's too healthy. Had she eaten a few more Wendy's Baconators and loaded up on shots of Easy Cheese, she could be scooting around on a Rascal and wouldn't need a photo ID, just like the real Americans out there.

    1. sati_demise

      Good catch. Who says the gop does not care for teh olds as long as they are bedridden and usually cannot get help with a mail in ballot.

  32. chicken_thief

    Texas, not to be outdone, simply locks up their old blacks so that Perry, sitting comfortably at Niggerhead, can give the word to execute them when the mood strikes.

  33. Nopantsmcgee

    There is not enough pot or alcohol to tamp down my anger over this. I really feel like hurting a tea tard right now.

  34. KommunistKitty

    Well, I mean, if a woman can't prove that she's married then how can we be sure that she has a husband to tell her how to vote?

  35. LesBontemps

    Thank God Almighty this valiant public servant did his/her duty and prevented voter fraud!

  36. slithytoves

    What also burns my ass is that she's being told to vote absentee ballot because that requires no i.d. She's been going to that polling place for years and no doubt it is a social event as well as a public celebration/affirmation of her right to vote. So you see, she can vote – but not where anyone could see her or where she might need to use a bathroom.

    I'm incensed.

    1. finallyhappy

      I was an election judge last year. I helped a really old woman to vote. She said she probably should use an absentee ballot but it made her proud to come to the polls. We try to encourage voting here with early voting for 5 days/absentee ballots for any reason- and we don't have voter ID rules.

  37. Callyson

    Yeah…you've got to watch out for those 96 year old broads. They're always sneaking around voting booths and trying to cast multiple ballots. Back off, bitch!
    OK, snark off: capital WTF? I mean, really, the clerk wasn't even a little embarrassed about turning down an old lady for something as trivial as an ID? One to which the lady is legally entitled BTW?
    It's not even noon here, and I already need a drink or ten…

  38. spinozasgod

    People always say inane things like "well you need an ID to do a lot of things, like driving a car"….but, unlike driving, voting is a CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT!!!!

    Do you like how I used the constitution, cause that seems to be really important to teatards…..

  39. SorosBot

    And, of course, the comments are mostly from a bunch of vicious racists screaming, "how dare people call this racist!" I fucking hate humanity sometimes. Oh and screams of "ACORN voter fraud!" too. THERE WAS NEVER ANY VOTER FRAUD BY ACORN, YOU STEAMING PILES OF RACIST SANTORUM.

  40. Chichikovovich

    No snark – I'm curious

    Slithytoves above mentioned the exception for absentee ballots. This really puzzles me: isn't it evidently *easier* to vote fraudulently with an absentee ballot (if in fact anyone wanted to vote fraudulently, which apparently nobody does)? What is the reason for this exception? I assume that the real reason is that the Republicans studied voting patterns and presumably found that absentee votes skew significantly Republican. But that can't be their public story. What fig-leaf "justification" do they give for this rule?

    1. mayor_quimby

      They don't really give one most times, but they have said that they don't want to make it harder for deployed troops to vote. So fig-leaf=support the (straight) troops.

      1. Limeylizzie

        Ok, I've got mine all ready to go, thank the Lord for all those dried apricots last night I'll just be needing a jar.

    1. flamingpdog

      I don't think there is any room for stool samples at that Driver Service Center – the clerk is already full of shit.

  41. ingloriousbytch

    Go on Republicans. Just keep playing these games. You're gonna turn a whole lotta people from MLK to (young) Malcolm X real quick.

  42. owhatever

    It's a wonderful day in Tennessee! If this person really wanted to continue to participate in our exceptional democracy by voting, she should not have been born black 96 years ago.

  43. Naked_Bunny

    We do have a Department of Justice, but they're too busy authorizing the assassination of American citizens to worry about bullshit like elections or voters.

    1. Negropolis

      And prosecuting medical marijuana patients and caregivers in Michigan. God if I don't hate this new DoJ (same as the old one).

  44. donner_froh

    Dorothy Cooper, an elderly black woman who has more brains than the Republican caucuse of the Tennessee State Legislature, probably was intending to vote for a Democrat. The law is working exactly as intended.

  45. slowhansolo

    Sorry, I've got nothing funny to say about this.

    In fact, I'll make it even worse and slightly OT: These disenfranchisement efforts are happening all over the country. Voter ID bills are pending in Pennsylvania as we speak, along with Tom Corporate's plan to piecemeal the state's 2012 electoral votes according to wins in congressional districts.

    This is a state with 1.1 million Democratic registration advantage. So take that sweet, old black woman and multiply her by roughly 100,000 in Philadelphia, and the mouthbreathing illiterati in the midstate will finally get a (disproportionately amplified) voice.

  46. glamourdammerung

    Mission Accomplished!

    Seriously though, Republicans show that once again, they hate the United States of America and everything we claim it stands for.

  47. AntonovBureau

    Well hey, they should have thought about 3D hologram biometric marriage certificates 50 years ago. By not doing so, they obviously didn't want to vote in the future.

  48. ttommyunger

    Leave it to the Republitards to overreach: they prevent one potential Democratic Voter from reaching the Polling Booth and send a message Nationwide that will generate hatred and disgust enough to propel hundreds and thousands to the Polls who otherwise might have stayed home with their Teevee Machine, Cheetos and Grape Soda.

  49. Doktor Zoom

    In other news, Civil Rights giant Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth died today, apparently from a massive overdose of bitter irony.

Comments are closed.