Tuesday, October 21, 2014
the voter ID card or hell no, you can't vote
I've been spending too much time the last several days trying to explain to people on FB why voter ID cards are a hindrance to voting. The common start is some person who already has an adequate ID card so that their ability to vote is not compromised espousing the opinion that they don't see what the big deal is. Just go get a card.
As a resident of the state with the most stringent requirements for a voter ID card, so say the memes, that just chaps my ass.
It never occurs to them that someone might not drive because they can't afford the insurance, much less a car. That this person might work a minimum wage job and has to take an unpaid day off from work which would represent 20% of their pay for that week which they can ill afford, take the bus to the nearest DMV office which could take hours, walk to the office from the bus stop and then wait several more hours to get their card. If they have the proper documents to prove who they are. And if they don't have a copy of their birth certificate (and how many of us do), then first they have to take another unpaid day off to appear in person with the acceptable proof of identity. And yeah, there are fees associated with that. This is not an 'easy' task. Now, throw in a couple of young children and bad weather and poor education and trouble with the language and infirmity and all of a sudden, it can be insurmountable.
A cousin informed me that he read that TX DMV was not charging for the voter ID card. Small comfort.
In Texas, to get the card that the Republicans have decided will prevent non-existent voter fraud...
Studies have shown that voter fraud accounts for only 2/100 - 1/10 of ONE % of votes cast. Two hundredths to one tenth of ONE fucking percent. And most those infinitesimal fraudulent votes are not cast by in person voting.
...a person must show one form of identification from the primary list or two forms of identification from the secondary list or one form of identification from the secondary list and two from the supporting list. That's one to three forms of identification needed to get a voter ID card.
The primary list is a driver's license, passport, military ID, or certificate of citizenship.
The secondary list is a birth certificate, or an original or certified copy of a court order showing your name and date of birth.
The supporting list of acceptable documents is very long and includes SS card, income tax documents, voter registration card, concealed carry permit, vehicle registration, and so on.
So, if you don't drive, don't have a passport, haven't served in the military, don't have a copy of your birth certificate, don't have a certificate of citizenship because you were born here, and can't afford to take a day or two off work or have small children you have to take with you on the bus to the DMV and the records office, and maybe you are in a freakin' wheel chair then getting this ID is not easy and while perhaps the card is free as the cousin says, there are fees associated with getting other proof of person documents.
The result and the purpose of this new required voter ID card is to prevent people from voting, to make voting some kind of privilege instead of the constitutional right that it is. One commenter claimed she felt the right to vote came with responsibility and I agree, when we vote we are being responsible citizens but that's not what she meant. She meant that people should be responsible enough to acquire the proper ID card.
I always thought the proper card for voting was your voter's registration card and your signature at the polls. At least it has been for every year of my life since I've been old enough to vote til now. We should be making it easier to vote, not harder.
While I am angry that the Republican politicians in charge here have passed this new law, whose only true purpose is to discourage voters who traditionally vote for Democrats, that has been challenged and will probably get overturned in time though the Supreme Court has upheld it for this election, what really upsets me is the complete and total lack of understanding and compassion so many people, overwhelmingly white, have for those that don't already have an acceptable form of voter ID.
They have the ease of their white privilege and relative wealth and sneer at the poor, the elderly, the infirm, the people of color, the young, the disenfranchised who all have the same constitutional right to vote for the leaders of their country and community as those that need make no special, and in some cases herculean, effort in order to exercise that right.
And that is just wrong and makes me sad that so many people in this country have become so heartless.
Here's a link to just one woman's attempt.
Here's a link to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg's dissent on the recent ruling allowing Texas' discriminatory voter ID law to stand.