Family Bible saves voting day for 92-year-old woman - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Family Bible saves voting day for 92-year-old woman

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Evelyn Howard, 92, has voted in 18 presidential elections. But her vote in the 2014 November elections was in jeopardy because of Kansas' voter registration law.

A family Bible saved the day. The Kansas Election Board has approved the voter registration for Evelyn Howard of Shawnee. This came after Howard and her daughter presented copies of U.S.  Census records and a page from a battered family Bible to prove she was born in the U.S.

Howard had to do all of that because she didn't have a birth certificate.

Daughter Marilyn Hopkins said she was born in a midwife's home in Minnesota in February 1922.

Starting in 2013, Kansas requires new voters to provide a birth certificate or other proof of their citizenship when registering. Howard moved to Kansas from Missouri in 2013 and sought to register as a Republican voter earlier this month.

Howard considers it a privilege to vote and something she expects to do. She said you can't effect change if you don't vote.

"It's an obligation. We're citizens of the United States," she said. "We should do our best for our country."

She was shocked when registering wasn't automatic for her.

"I knew we ought to find some way that I can vote because I'm still a United States citizen," she said.

The Bible had her father's nearly 100-year-old notes recording Howard's birth and that of her siblings. Her mother noted on a page in the Bible when and where her children were born. 

The Bible had recently been sold in an estate sale. Luckily the buyer contacted Hopkins to give it back to her.

The three-member board's decision was unanimous.

"It makes her happy to know she'll be able to vote," Hopkins said. "It's always so important to her. It is her duty to vote."

Howard's request was just the third case heard by the election board since the new law took effect last year. There are more than 20,000 registrations on hold in Kansas as state officials wait for proof of citizenship. It is unknown how many are because they are elderly Kansans who weren't born in a hospital.

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