(The Nation) -- Fred Leidel was born in 1916, before women got the right to vote. At 99 years old, he biked to the polls in Madison, Wisconsin, on Election Day. He designed propeller blades for airplanes during World War II and was an engineering professor at the University of Wisconsin. Everyone knew him at his polling place, Schenk Elementary School, where he volunteers to read to kindergartners.
But for the first time in his life, Leidel was turned away from the polls. He no longer drives, and his faculty ID, which he’d used to vote in the past, wasn’t accepted under Wisconsin’s strict new voter-ID law. “I never had any problems voting until today,” he said.
The poll workers called Molly McGrath of VoteRiders, who helps people get voter IDs, and she took Leidel to the Department of Motor Vehicles branch in East Madison, where he was issued a new state ID and given a temporary receipt for voting—an option only available because a court order forced the state government to make IDs readily available. Leidel returned to the polls a second time and successfully cast a ballot. If it hadn’t been for McGrath’s assistance, he would have been disenfranchised a month before his 100th birthday.
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