93-year-old testifies against Wisconsin voter ID law

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Lorene Hutchins, 93

Lorene Hutchins, 93

The civil rights organization Advancement Project filed a federal lawsuit, challenging the sate of Wisconsin’s voter ID law.

Lorene Hutchins was among witnesses who have taken the stand to testify.

“I feel there is a strategy to keep minorities and older people from voting,” the 93-year-old said, according to court transcripts. “Most of us who migrated to Northern states do not have birth certificates, a prerequisite for obtaining the photo ID required to vote. I’ve been voting since the 1940’s when I voted for Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It would be devastating to lose the right to vote now, after all these years.”

Hutchins was born at home in Mississippi because hospitals at that time did not accept black patients, and she did not receive a birth certificate.

Katherine Clark, Hutchins’ daughter, spent over $2,000 and several years to obtain birth certificates for both herself and her mother.

Hutchins, a former poll worker, said that without the efforts of her daughter, she would not be voting.

“If it had not been for my daughter Katherine who had the time and money to fight to get me a birth certificate, I would have been barred from voting,”Hutchins said.

“Having watched her family brave angry mobs while trying to vote in Mississippi in the 1920’s, Ms. Hutchins now faces a more subtle, yet no less harmful, barrier to the ballot box,” said Advancement Project Staff Attorney Leigh Chapman.

Follow Carrie Healey on Twitter @Carrieheals