Delivered by midwife in pre-Civil Rights-era South

December 27, 2012

Like many in the pre-Civil Rights-era South, Raymond Rutherford was born in his home in Sumter County, South Carolina. The midwife who delivered him misspelled his first name and put his mother's maiden name as his last name on his birth certificate. His voter registration card, tax returns and pay stubs all bear his correct name. Because of the discrepancy between these records and his birth certificate, Raymond couldn’t get the ID he needed to vote without obtaining a delayed birth certificate. In order to secure a delayed birth certificate, Raymond would need the services of an attorney, which he certainly couldn't afford. Fortunately for Raymond, he was able to get help from Dr. Brenda Williams’ organization, The Family Unit, a nonprofit whose mission includes the encouragement of voter participation. Obtaining a delayed birth certificate can take many months, even years. Like the other citizens we've highlighted, Raymond has voted in every election since he turned 18.

Luckily for Raymond, South Carolina's voter ID law was suspended until 2013 so he was able to vote last month.