published Friday, October 21st, 2011

96-year-old Dorothy Cooper finally gets ID to vote

Dorothy Cooper, 96, holds her free state voting ID Thursday outside the new Dayton Boulevard Department of Safety Driver Service Center. Earlier in October, Cooper was denied her ID because she did not have her marriage certificate.
Dorothy Cooper, 96, holds her free state voting ID Thursday outside the new Dayton Boulevard Department of Safety Driver Service Center. Earlier in October, Cooper was denied her ID because she did not have her marriage certificate.
Photo by Tim Barber.
Follow us on Twitter for the latest breaking news
Poll
Should voters be required to show a photo ID?
  • Yes. 65%
  • No. 35%

804 total votes.

Dorothy Cooper, 96, clutched her new voter ID in an envelope Thursday afternoon and said, “I can rest my mind.”

“When you’re as old as I am, you don’t need all of this on you,” Cooper said while sitting in the parking lot of the state Driver Service Center in Red Bank, where she went to get the identification card. “I went to enough trouble.”

Now she can go to the polls in March rather than voting absentee, which is what she decided she might have to do after being denied a photo ID earlier this month.

A new state law requires that everyone show a photo ID to cast a ballot.

On Oct. 3, Cooper went to the Tennessee Department of Safety Driver Service Center to get her free photo ID, but workers there turned her down. Cooper, who has outlived two husbands, didn’t bring a marriage certificate to prove she was the same Dorothy Alexander from her 1915 birth certificate.

On Thursday she came with her birth certificate, telephone bill, lease and a marriage certificate. Then state workers asked for an additional piece of evidence — her Social Security card.

Charline Kilpatrick, a local Democrat who has been taking voters like Cooper to the Driver Service Centers to get IDs, immediately called Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey’s office to tell him about the Social Security card request.

Adam Kleinheider, Ramsey’s communications director, said later on Thursday that he received the call, then called the Department of Safety.

“[Kilpatrick] did express her view that we need to do more to educate on this, and we agree,” Kleinheider said. “We’ve tried to help in any way that we can.”

Before Thursday, the Safety Department offered to help Cooper get a free ID, but she declined, telling them she’d decided to vote absentee. She said she later changed her mind, and Kilpatrick again offered a ride to the center.

“I wanted my ID with a picture on it,” Cooper said. “So many places I go ask me for it.”

After the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported her story on Oct. 5, national media outlets, including MSNBC, featured Cooper. The Tennessee Democratic Party now uses her experience as a rallying cry against the new law.

“It’s particularly offensive to me that the GOP may be bragging about one person trying to get a voter ID after two tries,” said Brandon Puttbrese, the state party’s director of communications.

Cooper’s niece, Julia Fleming, 52, joined Kilpatrick and Cooper on Thursday. Fleming doesn’t have a car.

Cooper “didn’t know she was making as big a splash,” Fleming said. “She said, ‘I hope I reached somebody.’”

Cooper has been voting since her 20s and said she wanted to continue going to the polls.

“I don’t keep up with politics myself,” Cooper said.

about Ansley Haman...

Ansley Haman covers Hamilton County government. A native of Spring City, Tenn., she grew up reading the Chattanooga Times and Chattanooga Free Press, which sparked her passion for journalism. Ansley's happy to be home after a decade of adventures in more than 20 countries and 40 states. She gathered stories while living, working and studying in Swansea, Wales, Cape Town, South Africa, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Knoxville, Tenn. Along the way, she interned for ...

13
Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.

There now was that so hard, you whiner?

October 21, 2011 at 8:28 a.m.

Cooper has been voting since her 20s and said she wanted to continue going to the polls.

“I don’t keep up with politics myself,” Cooper said.

So there's another vote for Obama....

October 21, 2011 at 10:03 a.m.
JustOneWoman said...

Cleveland Steamer and Bookieturnersghost are rude jerks! I, for one, am tired of this behavior being socially acceptable. Respect is what your mothers taught you. Use it! You guys must be miserable. You just don't get how you are being pawned, but boy can you be a jerk about your opinion. You would give away every American freedom if it fit your idea of hate. Go away, you have no power here.

October 21, 2011 at 12:11 p.m.
dao1980 said...

JustOneWimmen, what the heck are you talking bout?

Both of the comments you are so offended by are appropriate quick quips, shining a valid light on a serious "eye roller" of an issue.

This nice old lady obeyed the rules and got what she wanted, and in the process made some deep commentary about the average voter knowing nothing about he issues they are effecting with their vote.

What is confusing about that?

Though I did get a snicker out of your Labyrinthesque "You have no power here" finish.

Ya got David Bowie on the mind today?

Oh, and for more snickers, check out the guy picking his nose or something through the car window in the background...

October 21, 2011 at 12:21 p.m.
dee said...

It doesn't matter who she votes for, it's her right as a citizen. Would it be ok it she voted for one of the clowns who's running in the GOP? You guys are missing the point. Stop being ignorant!

October 21, 2011 at 1:51 p.m.
dao1980 said...

AAAAAAAHAHAHAHA! dee, we've got to get you up on a stage with that stand up routine.

"It doesn't matter who she votes for, it's her right as a citizen. Would it be ok if she voted for one of the clowns who's running in the GOP?"

So... to you, it doesn't matter who she votes for, but you sure as heck don't want her to vote repub... did I get that right?

Personally, I feel that anyone who has anything more than toung in cheek faith in either party is a foolish foolish fool, who's eyes are hypnotized by simple lies.

October 21, 2011 at 2:17 p.m.
JustOneWoman said...

LOL David Bowie!?! Maybe he got it from Glenda. Maybe it is you with Bowie on the mind.

Surely you jest at the confusion, or maybe it is you that is confused. The fact that you consider this an eye roller issue means you are being pawned too. But I will stand next to you and fight for your right to say it. The disrespectful are annoying and should be called out. But I am not trying to take their right away to say it. The Republicans and faux have convinced enough people that there has been enough voter fraud to make our elderly go stand in lines and jump through hoops just to vote. These are the same elderly that can see who is trying to take away their medicare and social security, (You know, that insurance that they paid into.) My mother in a wheelchair, waiting in a line because what used to be enough for her to vote is no longer enough. These are the same elderly that I hear being called lazy bums. The same elderly being accused of not paying taxes.

I stand by my label of rude jerks. America is made up of opinions and the bickering helps us all reach better decisions and compromise. But the high road is to always show some respect and less hate.

October 21, 2011 at 2:19 p.m.
dao1980 said...

Jarred the goblin king plagiarizing Glenda?! Surely YOU jest!.. Ah well... Maybe you're right, that's a good take on it.

I will say that as you get older your bones will get brittle and I would advise against any "jumping through hoops" or hoola-ing hoops, as you will run the risk of busting a hip or something terrible.

Since you equate getting a free voter ID card to hoop jumping, I am going to venture to guess that you have trouble with task oriented projects.... like... getting a free voter ID card for example.

Ok Ok, so it's a slow Friday at the office and I'm feeling talkative, I mean you no... as you would say, "hate" JustOneWoman.

October 21, 2011 at 2:55 p.m.
headcoconut said...

Any fraud doesn't take place when the voters vote. The fraud is in diabol{the machines used to register the votes}. The controllers of those diabol{sp} are heavily conservative and republican.

October 21, 2011 at 4:27 p.m.
chet123 said...

shes one that got away from the voter suppression scheme put out there by republican party.........because of 80 votes fraud ....the republican decide to purge 5 millioms voters........this is another manufactured crisis by the republican party....GOP(greedy Old People)trying to steal another presidential election

October 21, 2011 at 6:56 p.m.
nygizak said...

Mrs. Cooper, bless your heart!

She has been voting for 70 years. Her quote, "I don't keep up with politics, myself," has zero context. I'm sure that keeping up with politics has changed significantly over the last 70 years. It is poor journalism to sum up her struggle to exercise her fundamental right with a bad joke.

September 1, 2012 at 12:31 p.m.
please login to post a comment

Other National Articles

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement
400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.