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Week of 9.1.06

Perspectives: Voter's Voices

Maria Frencher

Maria Frencher Maria Frencher is a single mother who lives in Kansas City, Missouri. She works five days a week to help citizens register to vote and educate them on their rights. "Some ex-felons don't think they can ever vote again, and that's not true," she says. Because of a new Missouri law that took effect on August 28th requiring voters to show photo ID to cast ballots, Frencher says she will not be able to vote in the upcoming election. Frencher says she does not have a valid Missouri state ID and cannot obtain a birth certificate because she does not know the family details required to get one. She says she has met a lot of people who can't vote because they don't have the required ID, even though many have social security cards. "I feel like the rights I was given in the 1960s have been taken away ... I am not going to be able to vote yes on the minimum wage increase," she says.

Annie Johnson

Annie Johnson Annie Johnson has been living in Plains, Georgia since 1977. She lives with her grandson and a niece, whom she takes care of. Johnson does not have a photo ID, which is now required to vote under a new law in Georgia. "It will be hard for me to get one," she says, because she does not have a birth certificate and access to transportation is limited. She could pay someone to take her to get her birth certificate, but does not have money for transportation. Johnson has voted before and wants to do so in the upcoming elections. "It's important for me to vote because I have relatives and friends, and kids in schools, and I want to do what I can. If my vote will help any, I'd be glad for it," she says.

Rosa Laster

Rosa Laster Rosa Laster has lived in Plains, Georgia for all of her 87 years. At one time she had no time to vote because she worked the fields seven days a week while minding her children. But her life has settled down since. "Living here in Plains is good, I enjoy it," says Laster, who now lives alone. She was able to vote in the past by getting a ride to the poll site from her brother-in-law. But he died last year and now she's not sure how she will acquire a photo ID or get to the polls. She does not drive and has little money. Laster reflects on a time when black people would be turned away from the polls by whites. "They would beat them up ... sometimes they would tear up their homes, set them afire...black people have come a long way," she says. "Sometimes I feel like that's what they're trying to do again." Laster says she will try to find a way to vote because she sees it as a way to help people, which she loves to do.