North Carolina Voter Turns To VoteRiders For ID Help For A Second Time
BY ERIN CARDEN, DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR, VOTERIDERS — NOVEMBER 30, 2023
When 67 year-old Rosemaria Bowden looked down at her shopping cart and saw that her wallet had vanished, her stomach sank.
It was the day before Thanksgiving. She had decided to stop by Walmart to pick up a birthday card for her grandson. One minute her wallet was sitting in her shopping cart. The next minute, it was gone.
“I panicked,” Rosemaria recounted. “And all I could think is… everything is in that wallet. I had all my bank cards, my Social Security card, my North Carolina state ID, my shot records. Everything.”
She knew she was in trouble. With no cash, credit card, or bus pass, she had no way to get home. Thankfully, her daughter came to her rescue. Without a state identification, Rosemaria was also afraid she wouldn’t be allowed to vote. That’s when she remembered VoteRiders could help her replace her ID for free.
Rosemaria first learned about VoteRiders last year, on a day when local elections were taking place in Charlotte. She had signed up to be a poll worker and was at the transit center, waiting to hop on the bus to take her to her polling place when she saw a VoteRiders team member handing out cards, explaining that if anyone was in need of an ID to vote, VoteRiders could help them get one for free.
Rosemaria’s ears perked up. Her grandson had just turned 18 and needed an ID to secure a job. Then she remembered something else. Her own North Carolina state identification had recently expired. She took a VoteRiders card and called the Helpline number the very next day.
When she called, Rosemaria was quickly connected to a VoteRiders volunteer who collected her information and ensured she would be receiving her new ID in the mail shortly. Within a few days, it had arrived. Next, Pamela Pearson, VoteRiders’ National Voter ID Assistance Director, helped Rosemaria’s grandson secure his first North Carolina state identification.
When Rosemaria’s wallet was stolen one year later, she knew where to go for help this time.
“When I didn’t know which way to turn, VoteRiders was right there,” she said.
After receiving Rosemaria’s call, Pam helped her apply for a new North Carolina state ID right away and quickly assured her that she would be receiving her new identification in the mail shortly. Once Rosemaria has her ID, Pam will also help her replace her Social Security card and can arrange free transportation to take her to the Social Security office.
“VoteRiders is such a help,” Rosemaria beamed. “Especially for me because I don’t have transportation. I don’t drive.”
With a new ID, Rosemaira can rest assured that her vote will be counted in the March primaries. As of this year, North Carolina voters are now asked to show photo identification to cast a ballot. If a voter doesn’t have an acceptable ID, they can still vote by completing an ID exception form.
“Voting is very important to me,” Rosemaria explained. “I have five grandchildren and I try to tell them how important voting is. If 10,000 people think that their vote doesn’t count, that would be 10,000 votes not counted. That does make a difference.“