After the state Division of Motor Vehicles turned her away Monday because she couldn’t prove her middle name, two DMV officials visited 86-year-old Reba Miller Bowser on Friday to help her with the paperwork for a photo ID that she’ll use when she votes this year.
They came to Bowser’s Asheville apartment and allowed her to fill out an affidavit affirming what she had not been able to prove with all her identity papers: that Miller became her middle name when she married in 1950. Her other documents included only her middle initial.
“It went well,” said Amy Lee Knisley, Bowser’s daughter-in-law.
DMV Commissioner Kelly Thomas told The News & Observer this week that local DMV employees “messed that one up” when they rejected Bowser on Monday.
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To make amends, he sent two officials to Bowser’s home: Terry Fuller, DMV’s western regional chief driver’s examiner, and Renee Link, chief examiner from DMV’s Marion office.
The affidavit option is a little-known alternative – not publicized, and not widely known even by some DMV employees – for ID applicants who cannot prove they legally changed their names in the past.
Critics of North Carolina’s voter ID law said DMV has failed to offer this option to others seeking the ID cards they’ll need to participate in North Carolina elections, starting with the primary elections scheduled for March 15.
Fuller and Link took Bowser’s photograph and told her she will receive her ID in the mail.
“She should be getting that in a few days,” DMV spokeswoman Marge Howell said. “We’re just all very happy they were able to take care of Ms. Bowser today.”