VoteRiders Helps Indiana Voter Track Down 50-Year-Old Documents so She Can Get ID


More women are engaging in our democracy than ever before, but confusing and complicated voter ID laws are threatening to silence the power of their votes. This Women’s History Month, VoteRiders is spotlighting one woman who had to track down multiple decades-old marriage licenses and divorce decrees so she could get the ID she needed to exercise her freedom to vote. Luckily, VoteRiders was there to lend a hand.

This is her story.


When Linda was told she couldn’t get an Indiana state ID until she submitted multiple marriage licenses and divorce decrees — one dating back to fifty years — she was floored. 

VoteRiders Helps Indiana Voter Track Down 50-Year-Old Documents so She Can Get ID
Linda Dickerson

Like so many other Americans who change their name, Linda found herself taking on the role of a detective, stuck in a maze of bureaucracy and paperwork as she attempted to track down a paper trail of documents to prove how her last name had become “Dickerson.” 

“It didn’t matter that I had an expired passport and an expired driver’s license from a different state,” Linda exclaimed. “As far as the state is concerned, if you’re a female who has been married and divorced and you don’t take back the name that matches your birth certificate, you have to keep certified copies of all this information to prove how you got the name that you have. I thought to myself, how many other women are in this same situation? I bet it’s a lot.”

It is. Approximately seven out of 10 women change their last name when they get married or divorced. This percentage is especially concerning when considering the tidal wave of voter ID laws that has swept our country since 2020. Voter ID laws, which are currently in place in 38 states, often require that voters present an ID that matches the name they used when they registered to vote — which can be years ago. Trans women who change their name also often face barriers to the ballot box in addition to experiencing intimidation, discrimination, and harassment if their gender presentation or name doesn’t match their ID or voter registration. 

Women have powered our democracy for decades. According to the Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics, women have voted in every presidential election at higher rates than men since 1964. In the 2020 presidential election, women cast 10 million more ballots, and over seven million more women registered to vote in 2022. 

Every year, more women are actively engaging in our democracy — and yet millions are being silenced by restrictive and convoluted voter ID laws. 

“I can’t vote in Indiana without a photo ID,” Linda explained. “I also don’t go anywhere — I’m in a wheelchair, I’m homebound. And I don’t have the money to pay for these documents, so Indiana’s voter ID law is disenfranchising people who are not only female but who are also disabled and don’t have the money. It’s so discriminatory. Voting is very important, especially right now because we’re coming up on a big election. It’s your civic duty. You’ve got a voice and you’ve got to get out there and vote.“

Linda moved to Indiana in 2021. Her previous driver’s license from Kentucky expired in 2022. It wasn’t until November 2023 that Linda finally found a way to get the Indiana ID she needed. 

One day, Linda was scrolling through social media when she came across a video on TikTok that mentioned how VoteRiders could help folks obtain underlying documents needed to secure an ID. Linda visited VoteRiders’ website and sent an email to [email protected] explaining that she needed assistance. Shelly, one of VoteRiders’ dedicated volunteers, followed up with Linda shortly afterwards. Shelly gathered information from Linda and was able to track down her marriage licenses and divorce decrees. 

“Shelly performed miracles,” Linda beamed. “I was singing her praises from the rooftops.”

When Linda’s final divorce decree arrives from Washington, it’ll be time for her to secure her Indiana state ID. Because Linda is disabled, getting to and from her local BMV is challenging. 

“Shelly is also going to see if someone from the BMV can come to my home instead of me going there,” Linda explained. ”I told her that would be wonderful because I’m wheelchair-bound. If I have to move, I can move, but it’s extremely painful. Shelly also said that if I had to go to the BVM to get my ID, she would arrange free transportation there and back and another VoteRiders volunteer would also be there in person to assist me.”

When Linda thinks about how she will feel when she’s finally able to hold her new ID in her hand, the first word that comes to her mind is “freedom.” 

“I’ll be free. Free to vote, free to be who I am, to be legitimized. I have told so many people about the great work that VoteRiders is doing. I’ve said, ‘If you’re a woman, you need to be paying attention because you may not know that you can’t vote. You guys are doing great work and I just can’t thank you enough for everything.” 

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