Augustine Carter, 85, fights to protect her right to vote

By Story of America Team

Augustine Carter, an 85-year-old voter in Richmond, tells her story of the trouble she went through to vote in 2012. Born in 1928, she never had a birth certificate and she never got a driver’s license because she decided years ago that driving wasn’t for her. Her baptism certificate was sufficient for all identification purposes until the 2012 election. She had to go through a Kafkaesque bureaucracy including being told by someone at the Motor Vehicle Administration that she couldn’t prove that she was not a terrorist.

This video was shot in Richmond on January 29th at the Virginia State Capitol building at a rally organized by the Virginia State Assembly’s black caucus. Augustine Carter was invited to tell her story to illustrate that the new bills currently proposed by Republican lawmakers would actually make these problems even worse. One bill in particular would make current voter ID laws which created such problems for Carter even stricter. This bill is scheduled for a vote in the state senate on Monday.

69 bills have been proposed so far in the 2013 session change state voting laws, many of them would make access to voting more difficult rather than easier. Those meant to make voting easier (addressing the long lines at the polls in urban areas, for instance) were blocked by GOP legislators. One bill that made national headlines is designed to manipulate the the electoral college vote: changing it from the current winner-take-all system to one that mirrors the gerrymandered Congressional districts. Mitt Romney would have won of Virginia’s 13 electoral votes if this law had been in effect in 2012, even though Obama won the state by more than 150,000 votes.

Other gerrymandering bills include packing African Americans voters to a small number of districts to give the Republican Party the advantage in all of the others. Analysts say that this law would change 7 Senate districts from Democratic to Republican constituencies. 

Disappointed by the 2012 election outcome, Republican lawmakers are considering election-rigging proposals in several swing states including NC, PA, WI, MI, OH, and FL.

In this video, The Third Reconstruction, Rev. Dr. William Barber explains the history behind why these voter ID laws are in play and how we can respond to them. 

Videos by Eric Byler and Annabel Park