John English is alive and living in South Carolina - officially now.
English - a man without a birth certificate to prove who he is and where he was born - stood at the Newport DMV office Monday morning and held up his brand-new, state-issued South Carolina driver's license.
"I am a person," said English. "I can drive, and I can vote."
English's Pennsylvania driver's license was set to expire next week. With the expiration of that photo ID, English would have lost the ability to drive and - under a new state law awaiting approval by the federal government - vote.
But with the help of U.S. Rep Mick Mulvaney's office, the state Department of Motor Vehicles officials gave English a driver's license Monday, with his picture on it.
"The license is the first step, and with that done we are not going to stop until we can make the proper birth certificate happen for Mr. English," said Jeffrey Sligh, who coordinates constituent services for Mulvaney's office.
English's case has renewed debate concerning whether a new state voter identification law that requires a photo - a measure that requires Department of Justice approval - is the right thing for South Carolina.
Like so many older people born into poverty before proper records were kept by families or the government, English has no birth certificate.
A birth certificate for an unnamed male child, born to English's parents Jan. 19, 1947, appears to be official, according to Mulvaney's office.
Sligh is trying to arrange for the issuance of a proper birth certificate, but that process could take months and would require a court order and the services of a lawyer.
"I am hopeful now," English said Monday after getting his license. "But I worry about other people just like me."
Some estimates indicate that as many as 180,000 South Carolinians do not have any photo identification.
Many Democrats, including the Legislative Black Caucus, vehemently opposed the measures that were approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Nikki Haley as potentially threatening the ability of older voters, many of them black, to vote.
It is unclear if the new voter ID requirements will be approved by the Justice Department and become law before the next election cycle.
State Rep. John King, D-Rock Hill, who opposed the voter identification law because he said it could disenfranchise many voters, said English's case is "exactly the reason" so many legislators opposed a requirement for a photo ID.
"For some people, it could take hundreds of dollars to get an identification with a picture that they never in their lives have needed before," King said. "To me, that seems like a poll tax, and that is illegal.
"I don't see how the Department of Justice could approve this."
State Rep. Gary Simrill, R-Rock Hill, said the DMV is ready to handle and assist anyone who needs help getting a photo ID. He said photo identification is required for many other aspects of life, including airport travel, attending events - even obtaining medication.
State representatives and senators should be able to help any person in their districts who have trouble, Simrill said.
"This will work," Simrill said. "This measure is right for our state."
For English, the process Monday at the DMV took only about a half-hour - but he had been trying for years to get his documentation, and it took a congressman's staff member to help him get that far.
English had to wait in line like anybody else to and show his documents and take a vision test like. He had to pay for the license, too.
English had to sign his name as he has a million times since learning to read and write as a teen.
This is a man who earned a high school equivalency diploma after he turned 40, after he was not given a chance at proper schooling as a young child in the segregated South, and he worked for more than 30 years in a factory.
He was born in rural Chester County to illiterate parents who had no opportunity for school in the segregated South.
"I am officially a resident of South Carolina again," English said. "The state I was born in and call home."
Recent weeks haven't seen many smiles from John English. He hopes tens of thousands of other people won't have the same problem he has faced.
Yet finally - in a photo on the new license and on his face - you can see John English cracking a smile.