If for some reason she doesn’t want to deal with renewing her driver’s license, she might choose to acquire a state ID card after January 1, 2014, which she can also use to prove her identity at the polls. The same type of documents that prove her identity for a driver’s license are applicable here, but there’s no charge for obtaining a state ID if the applicant is over 70 years old, legally blind, or homeless, or has had his driver’s license revoked due to a physical or mental disability or disease.
The birth-certificate issue is a red herring, plain and simple.
Second, if Mrs. Eaton chooses not to change the name on her photo ID to match her voting record, she could do the reverse. According to Lisa Goswick, the director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, Mrs. Eaton would need to request a verification form, make the corrections to her name on the back, and then show her driver’s license. The process, Goswick says, can be done in about five minutes.
I asked Goswick if Mrs. Eaton — who has lived her entire life within seven miles of her birthplace in Louisburg, N.C., worked as an assistant poll worker for 40 years, and registered more than 4,000 people to vote — is likely familiar with the process. “By working with us all these years, yes sir, she should be,” Goswick said.
Third, if making the trip to the local board of elections — apparently less than ten miles from her home — sometime over the next three years before the law goes into effect in 2016 is too inconvenient, she has yet another option. Goswick confirmed that Mrs. Eaton could update her information on Election Day through the use of an Authorization to Vote form. In other words, if Mrs. Eaton had to show a photo ID at a polling place tomorrow, she would still be able to vote, her mismatching documents notwithstanding.
Finally, there’s still another option if her voter record and documents don’t match by the 2016 election cycle, when the ID provision goes into effect. ”Should anyone legitimately not be able to get a photo ID, they would still be able to vote absentee,” Republican state representative David Lewis, the head of the North Carolina House Election Law Committee, told me. According to Mrs. Eaton’s voter record, she has voted via absentee ballot six times since 2002.
All of this is why Lewis insists that “it’s absolutely false to claim that her right to vote has in any way been infringed upon because she may have difficulty getting a photo ID.”
There isn’t a single thing in the new law that will prevent Mrs. Eaton from voting. Her claim rests on the allegation that it would be less costly and time-consuming to sue the state of North Carolina than to run an errand or send a few pieces of mail.
— Sterling Beard is a contributor to National Review Online.