Wow! It is good to be back in Virginia! My mother and I just moved back, and the air smells sweeter, the water tastes cleaner, the grass is definitely greener.

My mother is 89 years old. She married my father in 1950. They served their lives together in ministry. My father died just after celebrating their 66th wedding anniversary. They both voted in every election since 1950. My father was a World War II veteran buried in the National Cemetery, north of Atlanta, Georgia. When he died, he still had his collection of "I voted!" stickers in his closet.

Just a week after the move, my mother started reminding me that she needed to get her Virginia ID card and be ready to vote. After gathering all the documents she needed, we headed out. It was troubling that we would have to pay $16, definitely a poll tax, but that was less than we had paid in Georgia. At the information desk, we were asked if we had our marriage licenses.

My mother was denied the ID she only needs in order to vote because she couldn't prove that her name had changed in 1950. She will have to pay to get a certificate of marriage. She also will pay an additional $10 for a "Real ID" so she can enter a federal building, thus making access to her representatives another cost.

We're happy to be here, but I hope the good people of Virginia can begin to see through this "little" photo ID requirement. Citizens who don't drive are subjected to multiple costs just to vote or have access to their representatives. In addition, they have to endure the physical and mental exertion of compiling all the documents, transportation issues of getting to the office, and waiting in lines that are not considerate of anyone with mobility issues, even when they are clearly our oldest citizens.

My mother has served people in her community and her country all her life. She will get her "Real ID." She will vote in the next election. I just think we could find a kinder way and bring back free voting.



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