Lufkin-area woman, 84, worries voter ID law may keep many from polls

An 84-year-old from the Lufkin area says she's gone to great lengths to prove her eligibility and worries the process may keep others home on Election Day.
September 21, 2013 4:59:41 PM PDT
After more than six decades of exercising her constitutional right to vote, an 84-year-old Lufkin woman worries she will be denied at the polls come Election Day. The recently enforced state law requiring a photo ID has been at the center of controversy across the country, but for people like Dorothy Card, it's personal.

Like the hummingbirds feeding out the back window of her Lufkin-area home, Card shows up on Election Day like clockwork.

"It makes me feel free to do so," she said. "It just makes me known that I'm an American and I have a right to vote."

After all, she's been doing it for more than 60 years.

"Roosevelt, I did vote for him. Truman, I guess I voted for him," Card said.

In the past, her signature was enough. But the new voter ID law changes that.

Card stopped driving after a 1999 accident, so without a current photo ID, she knew she would need an election identification.

Her daughter Cheryl Hoffman, a legal assistant, helped her gather the documents, and a lot of them.

"I thought it was adequate," Hoffman said.

But after many hours and attempts, Card was still being denied.

"They have said if we get another document, that they will issue it. But I've been told this three times, so I'm a little leery," Hoffman said.

That included a special letter from Angelina County since her marriage license from more than 50 years ago couldn't be found at the courthouse.

"I was feeling tremendously aggravated for mom, but honestly, I was also feeling extremely agitated for the rest of the voters," Hoffman said.

And the family isn't alone.

The Texas State Conference of NAACP and the Mexican American Legislative Caucus of the Texas House have filed a lawsuit against the state, saying the requirements "impose substantial and unjustified burdens on the fundamental right to vote in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment."

They're specifically concerned about the impact on minorities.

Card says she was told one of her options would be to vote by mail, but she says coming here to the Huntington Courthouse has been part of her Election Day routine for years.

A spokesperson for DPS says they are working with Card and calls her situation very unique.

"It's a good thing I don't meet the man who is over this because he would hear from me good and proper," Card said.

And while the Cards believe they will get everything needed in time for Election Day, it's the others they worry about.

"Look what you have to go through with to vote. Is it worth it?" she said.

The state says it will not comment on the pending lawsuits, but a spokesperson for DPS assures us that Card will be issued a Texas personal ID card without running into anymore issues.

Meanwhile, DPS has a website to help citizens register to vote and acquire and voter ID card.

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