In 2007, Maria del Carmen Sanchez was told she couldn’t renew her driver’s license because the name didn’t match the one on her U.S. passport. Then state officials offered this solution: Get a divorce, she said in a videotaped deposition played Wednesday during the federal trial on North Carolina’s photo ID requirement. It took a week before Sanchez was finally told she could simply fill out a name change form to get her driver’s license. But based on that experience, Sanchez said she thinks many Hispanics will face similar problems when they try to obtain a photo ID to vote in this year’s election. The photo ID requirement, which became law in 2013, didn’t take effect until this year.
Her testimony — on a deposition videotaped May 5, 2015 — came on the third day of what is expected to be a weeklong trial in U.S. District Court in Winston-Salem. Sanchez’s experience fit into a larger argument that attorneys for the N.C. NAACP and the U.S. Department of Justice are making about the burdens on blacks and Hispanics caused by the photo ID requirement.
“I’m the same person … and I’ve been the same person,” Sanchez — who was born in Cuba and is a U.S. citizen — said she told officials at the N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles office in Carrboro, where she lives.