“It’s good to walk with people but sometimes go alone. That way,” he said, “you can always stop and listen at the right time.”
In 2011, Wisconsin’s Republican-led Legislature enacted a new law that requires state-issued photo identification for all voters. Because Frank cannot drive, she has never held a license. Last November, Frank’s daughter drove her to their local Department of Motor Vehicles office to obtain a photo ID.
Frank says she knew she did not have a proper birth certificate, so she took her baptismal certificate, marriage certificate and Social Security card to the DMV, hoping that would be sufficient.
It was not.
When she got to the counter, a woman looked at the baptismal certificate and said, “Well, this is illegal. How do I know you are not an alien?”
“I was…about to cry,” Frank recalls, “because I have lived at the same address for 83 years.”
Frank left the DMV without an ID, and now may have to pay $200 to have her birth certificate changed because her maiden name is misspelled.
Looking back, she says she can’t understand “why I would be treated as rudely as I was treated.”
This past December, Frank joined 17 fellow Wisconsinites in a lawsuit against the state’s new voter photo-ID law, claiming the law is unconstitutional and “imposes a severe and undue burden on the fundamental right to vote.”