A video of Virginia McLaurin dancing with the Obamas went viral in February, but the 107-year-old DC resident has been unable to travel for a flood of interview requests, as she has been unable to replace a photo ID she lost years ago, according to Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy.
It’s a glimpse into how difficult obtaining a photo ID can be for some people. In McLaurin’s case it’s a bureaucratic catch 22. In order for McLaurin to receive a new photo ID, she must present the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles with her birth certificate from South Carolina. But she needs a photo ID to get the birth certificate, she told Milloy.
“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.”
Luckily for McLaurin, DC does not require a photo ID to vote, unlike several states.
“I’d pray long and hard to my God if they ever tried to do something like that to me,” she told Milloy.
The DMV has issued McLaurin a temporary ID, but she cannot use that to obtain her birth certificate.
“It’s sad to see my mother having to stand in lines, getting tired,” Felipe Cardoso, McLaurin’s son, told the Post. “She can’t understand how her picture could be in all those newspapers and all over the Internet, how so many people could recognize her on the street and want to take selfies with her, and she can’t even get a photo ID.”
Milloy also recounted an attempt made by Reba Miller Bowser, an 86-year-old North Carolina resident, to obtain a photo ID. When she went to get her new ID, the only document she was missing was proof that she changed her name when she got married. Ultimately, the DMV issued her an ID before the state’s primary elections this year, according to Milloy.
- Contributions allow us to hire more journalists
- Contributions allow us to provide free memberships to those who cannot afford them
- Contributions support independent, non-corporate journalism