MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) – Was it a case of elderly abuse, or was it just rudeness?
Even though Election Day on Super Tuesday seemed to be running smoothly in Shelby County, it just would not have been an election without some kind of controversy, and that controversy left one elderly voter trying to figure out how to cast a ballot.
Tennessee’s new voter photo ID rule played a role in what happened to one 80-year-old Memphian on Super Tuesday; she was a former poll worker who considered it her civic duty cast her vote.
But what happened when she tried was just too overwhelming.
“At that point,” said Paula Stewart, “my mother, I think, just gave up.”
Stewart’s octogenarian mom was released from the hospital the morning of Super Tuesday; she’s diabetic and has heart problems.
She also did not have the proper photo ID when she went from the hospital to the polls.
“She’s 82 and was not required until now to have a photo on her driver's license.” Stewart said.
So, it was off to the DMV, where mom was told senior citizens could move to the front of the line.
“We were rudely greeted by a security officer,” Stewart told abc24.com, “who said she didn’t get to go in the door.”
When they finally did get inside the Summer Avenue station, this was the greeting: “You have to sit in there and wait behind those people and get in line with them,” Stewart recounted from a DMV worker, “and we have a lot of people at lunch.”
Michael Hogan, the Director of Driver Services for Tennessee’s Department of Safety and Homeland Security, responded to those allegations of rude treatment at the Summer Avenue station.
“From what I’ve heard thus far in speaking with Mrs. Stewart,” Hogan told abc24.com, “it appears that maybe things could have been done better.”
Stewart certainly hopes that is the case in the future.
“I just shudder to think about this happening to anybody else’s mom, or dad, or grandparents,” Stewart said.
Hogan is out to make sure it doesn’t happen.
“I will be in Shelby County on Wednesday, March 7,” Hogan said, “my agenda has me going over to the station; at that time I’ll speak with the examiner and the security guard.”
“I just hope,” said Stewart, "that there’s a little more consideration and respect for our elderly.”
Stewart’s mother was home resting on Super Tuesday evening- still trying to figure out how to cast her ballot.
The entire family is hoping for increased training for DMV workers.