Friday, October 12, 2012
Ind. Decisions - More on: Federal court ruling holds the right to be issued a photo ID needed to vote, marry and adopt children is a property right protected by the 14th amendment
The headline to the long story by Jill Disis reads "One man's quest to prove his identity: State's voter ID law sets stage for legal battle that goes back to a name change from long ago." The story begins:
Joesph Worley is a Hoosier, born and raised.The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette remarks on the decision today in its opinion column, Furthermore ... The heading: "License snag highlights deficiencies of voter law." Some quotes:
But to prove his residency to the state of Indiana, he can't use his birth certificate, Social Security card or proof of residence.
He needs his mom.
Worley is in the middle of a two-year battle with the state for a photo ID card, something he says he has been denied because of tough identification requirements imposed by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
Couple that with Indiana's voter ID law -- one of the strictest in the nation -- and Worley says his case turns into an argument against voter disenfranchisement.
Now, Worley's case could set a new precedent for legal identification. On Tuesday, two years after he sued the state to obtain a photo ID, a federal judge has ordered the BMV to allow Worley a due-process hearing. And his mom's testimony might be the determining factor.
"Most people aren't required to prove they are who they say they are," said Worley's attorney, William Groth. "There's not really a lot of precedent for what they have to produce when their identity is challenged.
"I suppose the best evidence that one can produce is one's own mother. She's willing to testify that, yes, she gave birth to him."
The hearing date isn't set, and Groth is hoping the BMV decides to drop the case and give Worley an ID card. But to understand Worley's complex problem, you have to go back to the beginning.
Supporters of voter identification laws often argue that everyone who wants a valid ID can get one if they only try, ignoring the complications facing people who were born hundreds of miles away or who may not have a birth certificate.
This week, another problem with getting ID was made public in federal court.
A federal judge who six years ago upheld Indiana’s tough voter ID law ruled a Hoosier was denied his 14th Amendment right to due process after the Bureau of Motor Vehicles refused to give him a driver’s license or ID. The problem? His birth certificate and Social Security card – through no fault of his own – do not match.
“Our review of the record indicates that Mr. (Joseph) Worley cannot avail himself of the appropriate state law remedy, which is completion of the name change process detailed in the Indiana Code,” U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker wrote.
Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 12, 2012 09:06 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions