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Voter’s Registration Application Denies Black Woman The Right To Vote In Rural Texas

Black Woman Unable to Vote in Rural Texas (Photo: Gallery Yopriceville)

When the voters across Texas complied the voter registration applications on Monday for the statewide election on November 2, 82-year-old Elmira Hicks was concerned that she would not be able to cast her vote. The Oakwood, Texas, native has been unable to renew her voting license for more than a year due to a lack of the required birth certificate to authenticate her identification, ABC News reported.

Elmira Hicks, 82, Pictured with Her Daughter Jonita White (Photo: ABC News)

Voters Must Provide Valid Identification

In the Lone Star State, voters must provide a driver’s license, passport, military identity card, citizenship certificate, state election identification certificate, or personal identification card in order to vote in person, according to the election laws state requirement. In Texas, no photo identification is required to register to vote or vote by mail.

According to the Texas Secretary of State’s office, voters aged 70 and up may use an otherwise valid form of identification to cast a ballot, even if it has expired. If a voter does not have or is unable to get one of the seven approved forms of picture ID, he or she may file a Reasonable Impediment Declaration and produce a supporting form of IDs, such as a bank statement, current utility bill, paycheck, or government check,¬†Yahoo News¬†reported.

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Hicks Had No Birth Certificate

Hicks does not have a passport, and she claims that without her driver’s license or other acceptable credentials, it will be impossible for her to vote in state and federal elections because she resides in a rural area with limited mobility. Hicks was born with the assistance of a midwife, as were many Black elders in the South, during a time when records were not kept. She had never been given a birth certificate.

Jonita White, her daughter, assisted her in applying for one. The two had a legal dispute over the matter; even a court sided with them. Nonetheless, they claimed that Hicks was rejected by the Office of Vital Statistics due to a technicality.

Hicks on ABC News said, “My voice does not count. People have died just to vote, people have stood in line, in the rain, women fought to vote as it’s very important, and now I can’t vote.” Her daughter, Jonita White, feels like the laws right now are targeting her mother and other African Americans in the country.

Advocates fear that voter identification requirements might alienate thousands of primarily minority voters. It could have major repercussions during next year’s midterm elections for state and congressional races.

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