Dorothy Cooper is a 96 year old Tennessee resident whose voting rights are going to be taken away because she doesn’t have government issued identification.That's how Aaron Sorkin's fictional news program opened its broadcast during last week's season finale. Dorothy Cooper is a real life Tennessee resident who Sorkin uses to try and reinforce the false assertion that efforts to protect the integrity of elections by requiring voter ID are really disguised efforts to disenfranchise minorities. There's just one problem with the story...
Dorothy Cooper has valid voter ID.
At no point was Dorothy Cooper ever denied her right to vote. In fact, she was provided with free transportation and a free photo ID by the state. There was a brief mix up regarding the documentation she provided proving her identity, but this was corrected by state workers within days.
The Tennessee voter ID law goes even further than providing free voter ID to people like Mrs. Cooper. The law exempts voters living in nursing homes or assisted living facilities from the ID requirements. It also exempts those who can not get to the polls or to state offices to pick up their free ID by allowing absentee ballots to be cast without a voter ID.
Dorothy Cooper remembers voting in every election, but one since she was able. In all the decades she's been casting her ballot she has never had an issue, even before the 1960's Voting Rights Act was passed. This time was no different. In March of 2011, with her voter ID in hand, Dorothy Cooper went to the polls and cast her ballot.
The one difference for Dorothy between that election and all the ones prior was that that time she could be confident her vote was not cancelled out by a fraudulent ballot.