by Sam Hieb
Attorneys for the U.S. Department of Justice and the North Carolina NAACP argued the state’s amended voter ID law is still discriminatory as the first day of the trial challenging the law opened in Winston-Salem.
The lead plaintiff—94-year-old Rosanell Eaton—-attended the hearing but her testimony was via videotaped deposition she gave last year:
In the video, Eaton describes the amount of effort it took to correct discrepancies in how her name was spelled on certain documents, including her birth certificate, so that she could renew her driver’s license. She needed to renew her driver’s license for two reasons — it was set to expire in April 2015 and she needed a photo ID to vote in the 2016 election.
Eaton said she started the process of renewing her license on Jan. 5, 2015. She didn’t get it done until Jan. 26, 2015. Eaton, a Franklin County native who once had to read the preamble of the U.S. Constitution in order to register to vote, said she took 10 trips, including one trip to the Social Security Office in Raleigh, to fix her paperwork. At one state agency, she had to wait an hour and 48 minutes, she said.
She described the whole process as a headache.
The attorney representing the state countered that the vast majority of black voters have an some sort of ID and that the statute would affect “a very, very small group of people.”
As for Ms. Eaton—all due respect for her 94 years of life—-she may not have been the best witness to put forth, given the fact that she had to renew her driver’s license anyway. What would be interesting to know is whether or not Ms. still drives—-in other word, would her driver’s license serve another purpose besides allowing her to vote?