NOLANVILLE — Lewis Haney, 93, was born and raised on a farm in Lewiston, Utah.
By the time he was in fifth grade, Haney dropped out of school to help feed and provide financial support for his family.
Instead of obtaining a government-issued birth certificate, his parents recorded Haney and his 15 siblings’ at-home births in a family Bible.
Not having a birth certificate became problematic for Haney on Tuesday following a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, which struck down a key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and cleared the way for photo ID requirements for voters in Texas to take effect. The requirement was originally passed by the Texas Legislature in 2011.
Although he’s been voting for 72 years without a problem, Haney’s soon-to-be daughter-in-law, Irene Andrews, said the family had to go through many hoops to obtain photo identification — a process Andrews said is difficult for many older citizens who may not have the resources to obtain the necessary documentation.
“There’s a lot of people who are at an age where it will be hard for them to figure out what to do (to get a photo ID), even if they want to vote and have an opinion,” said Haney’s daughter, Joan Hinshaw.
Although he has dementia and can’t remember all of the local, state and national elections he’s voted in throughout his adult life, Haney said voting is an important right for every American.
“I never miss (an election),” he said.
Andrews said the law discriminates against many poor, elderly and disabled citizens. She hopes government officials will reconsider the law.
“It’s like they’re faceless to these politicians so it doesn’t matter. But it does matter,” Andrews said. “I want (politicians) to come here and tell him to his face that he is no longer eligible to vote or personally tell him the hoops he has to jump through in order to vote.”