Virginia McLaurin, the 107-year-old woman who melted Americans’ hearts when she fulfilled her dream of visiting the White House and meeting President Barack Obama and the First Lady — says she can’t get the government to issue her a photo ID.
According to the Washington Post, the Washington, DC Department of Motor Vehicles refuses to issue McLaurin a photo ID without a birth certificate from her home state of South Carolina. South Carolina, however, refuses to issue her a birth certificate without seeing a photo ID.
“I don’t think I’ll ever get that face card,” she told the Post. “I was birthed by a midwife and the birthday put in a Bible somewhere. I don’t know if they even had birth certificates back then.”
McLaurin lost her ID when her purse was snatched years ago. She said that she meant to replace the missing ID cards and other items, but, “I didn’t want to think about carrying around stuff that people would steal.”
This means that McLaurin — who has been invited to media appearances in Los Angeles and New York City — can’t board a plane anywhere in the United States. Because she is a D.C. resident, however, she can vote.
Were she a resident of 17 states in the country, she would not be able to vote at all thanks to restrictive voter ID laws. Republicans have enacted these laws in multiple states saying that they hope to combat voter fraud. However, these laws disproportionately impact traditionally Democratic constituencies like the elderly, the poor and voters of color to vote.
According to NYU School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice, 25 percent of black adults have no form of state-issued photo ID, as opposed to only eight percent of white adults. In 2012, the Brennan Center estimated that Republican voter ID laws would keep 5 million eligible U.S. voters from the polls.
Watch video of McLaurin’s visit to the White House, embedded below: