Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Nuns with dated ID turned away at Indiana polls


About 12 Indiana nuns were turned away Tuesday from a polling place by a fellow sister because they didn't have state or federal identification bearing a photograph.

Sister Julie McGuire said she was forced to turn away her fellow members of Saint Mary's Convent in South Bend, across the street from the University of Notre Dame, because they had been told earlier that they would need such an ID to vote.

The nuns, all in their 80s or 90s, didn't get one but came to the precinct anyway.

"One came down this morning, and she was 98, and she said, 'I don't want to go do that,'" Sister McGuire said. Some showed up with outdated passports. None of them drives.

The convent will make "a very concerted effort" to get proper identification for the nuns in time for the general election. "We're going to take from now until November to get them out and get this done.

"You can't do this like school kids on a bus," she said. "I wish we could."

Late Tuesday, Secretary of State Todd Rokita was unapologetic.

"Indiana's Voter ID Law applies to everyone. From all accounts that we've heard, the sisters were aware of the photo ID requirements and chose not to follow them," he said in a statement released by his office.

Elsewhere across the pivotal state, voting appeared to run smoothly, despite the fears of some elections experts that the Supreme Court's recent refusal to strike down Indiana's controversial photo identification law could cause confusion at the polls.

Sister Julie McGuire, a polling place inspector, had to turn away about a dozen of her fellow nuns when they showed up without proper identification to vote at Saint Mary's Convent in South Bend, across the street from the University of Notre Dame.

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