Earlier this week, the state of Tennessee denied Dorothy Cooper, a 96 year-old African-American, the voter ID she is now required to produce in order to vote at her polling place — citing her inability to produce her marriage certificate. Cooper voted in every election but one since she became eligible to vote, including many elections during the Jim Crow Era.
Indeed, in an interview yesterday with MSNBC’s Al Sharpton, Cooper explained that Tennessee’s new voter suppression law did more to keep her from voting than anything she experienced during Jim Crow:
SHARPTON: Even during Jim Crow days you didn’t have any problems voting in Tennessee?
COOPER: No, I haven’t had any problems at all until this time. This is the only times that I’ve had problems. [...]
SHARPTON: Do you feel that this kind of law is something that you and others that have lived through the Jim Crow Era and other eras—do you feel that this is something that you never thought at this stage in your voting life that you’d have to face? [...]
COOPER: No, I never thought it would be like this, ever.
Earlier this year, former President Bill Clinton described the recent round of state anti-voter laws as the most determined disenfranchisement effort since Jim Crow. For Cooper, though, they’ve turned out to be even more restrictive.