Voter ID Story: Joan in Florida

Turned away at her polling place because of an expired ID in 2020, Joan Scott turned to VoteRiders recently for help getting an ID so she can vote in upcoming elections.

“Freedom of speech is important to me,” Joan said, recalling how she felt when Florida poll workers sent her home because her ID had expired earlier that year. “People have always discredited me for my lack of education. I have a fifth-grade education but my opinions matter. My right to vote matters.”

Exercising her right to vote in future elections seemed insurmountable to Joan, who couldn’t afford the cost of a new ID card or transportation to the DMV office.

“When I originally thought I had to walk (to the DMV), I started to cry,” Joan said. “I couldn’t do it because I’m disabled.”

Fortunately, Joan attended a community resource fair put on by the Orange County Florida Sheriff’s Department and VoteRiders to serve the county’s homeless population with far-reaching services including free showers and haircuts, employment assistance, and ID help from VoteRiders.

At the resource fair, Joan met VoteRiders’ Florida Coordinator Jazlyn Gallego, who was able to secure an appointment to renew her ID at the DMV the following week. In addition to free transportation, Joan received one-on-one assistance once she was there, and VoteRiders covered the ID’s cost.

Taking an Uber to her DMV appointment was also the first time Joan had ever used a rideshare service. “I had never been in an Uber before,” she explained. ”It was a blessing.”

Joan is one of 60 citizens who received free ID help from start to finish from VoteRiders at the resource fair.

Joan praised the one-on-one assistance she received from Jazlyn as especially meaningful. “It gave me chills,” Joan said. “It made me cry (to know) that there are good people with a good heart like VoteRiders.”