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Census Records Help Put Senior Citizen Behind The Wheel Again

OPB | Sept. 11, 2013 1:16 p.m. | Gold Hill, Oregon

Contributed By:

OPB Staff

A 94-year-old woman from Gold Hill who was unable to renew her Oregon driver’s license because she could not produce a birth certificate is now back in the driver’s seat.

The Mail-Tribune reports that her family helped her track down census reports from 1930 and Oregon voter registration forms to prove her citizenship.

Back in May, the DMV told Helen Mary Thomas that she’d need a birth certificate to renew her license, which she has had since 1973.

But Thomas never had a birth certificate.

No doctor was present when she was born in 1919 in her parents’ rural home in Tennessee.

Thomas says she has to be able to drive, in order to be able to pick up her medication. She is a widow and none of her children live in the area.

Proof of citizenship for a driver’s license renewal is the result of Oregon Senate Bill 1080, which became law in July of 2008.

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