The Voter Photo ID Laws vs The Disenfranchised debate
I’m still officially on a writers hiatus, but wanted to post this as the topic had caught my eye in the forums. There is a lot of contention being thrown about over the subject of whether or not laws mandating Voter Photo IDs will disenfranchise people such as the elderly, the homebound, the handicapped, ect.
Now I'm probably going to regret interjecting here but I’m going to be dumb enough (or masochistic enough if you prefer) to share my two cents on this subject.
I have epilepsy and for this reason don't drive. Since I don’t have a drivers license I rely on a State ID for proving my identity. Now this handy-dandy item has many neat applications; with it I've been able to prove I am alive and the parent of the children whom I have enrolled in the public education system. I have used it to validate my personhood when going to the hospital for treatment. It has helped me verify my existence when getting my prescriptions filled (pharmacies around here require assurance that you are who you say you are when purchasing medicines - even if it is life-saving meds such as the ones I've been prescribed). The ID allowed me to apply for a debit card. It allowed me entrance into college. It allows me to purchase beer or liquor. It allows me to rent R-rated movies. It allows me to book a motel room. And it provides me the necessary confirmation I need to board an airplane. It provides all these wonderful services because I cannot, in all good conscience, drive.
Now, getting a state ID is, I suppose, a huge hassle in the eyes of some…I had to apply at the same dept. everyone else goes to obtain their drivers license. I had to provide my birth certificate and social security number for the process. In the future, when I go to renew the ID I'll have to either walk or get someone to return me to the dept in order for them to take a new photo of me. Some may call having to go through all this being "disenfranchised"; and if I was a feel-sorry-for-myself type of person I might be tempted to use that word to describe myself. But I don't. In the world we live in, and the by the nature of the world we live in, common sense necessitates having proof of identity. Without photo ID we can't even get into a Michelle Obama book-signing. There is good reason for this, as there are so many amoral people out there who don't think twice about using violence against others, and especially public figures..
When we are all obliged to pull out the photo ID's in order to go to a simple book-signing -or to buy medicines or to get on a plane, ect.- then I certainly don't begrudge photo ID's being required for voting purposes. The suggestion that the laws requiring them are geared toward only making an imposition on potential Democratic voters is ludicrous. I am an independent voter -in my life I've voted Dem and I've voted GOP and I can't promise which party I'll vote for in the future. But I can say that unscrupulous campaign practices are not the exclusive activity of either party. Some years ago my dog received mail from the GOP, a reminder for him to vote in the upcoming election that year. Another time, a relative of ours received mail from the Democrats, asking him to switch parties and become a registered Dem so he could help send their candidate to the White House. This relative had been dead for some years.
I don’t know who the political geniuses are that reach out to animals and the dead. What I do know is that every American citizen has the right to be protected from having their vote cancelled out at the ballot by an ineligible person (or ghost, or dog, ect.). I don’t want this to happen to me; I don’t want this to happen to any eligible voter.
So if I have to hobble downtown on a walker at 70 in order to update a Voters ID then I will do so. Of course, I have a feeling that by that time technology will have made it much simpler for all eligible Americans to cast legitimate votes.
In the meantime, I feel that bleeding hearts fortunate enough not to qualify as “disenfranchised” need to ask yourselves why do you resent laws supportive of Voter ID’s so very much? Far better than resenting it, why not give credit to those of us willing to apply for them when yes, it makes for an imposition but one we are willing to go through in the effort to protect the rights of all qualified voters?
Instead of complaining about the potential disenfranchising of certain peoples here is an idea: get off your backside and offer to drive your “disenfranchised” neighbors to the Voter ID dept. to get their photo ID’s! You do care that their single votes won't be cancelled out by an illegitimate one, don’t you? You do? GREAT! This way you’ll be making YOUR contribution to safeguarding their votes. And who knows? This kind of compassion might grow on you enough you’d be willing to even drive those same neighbors to the voting booth come election day.
Remember, whether we are neurologically impaired, handicapped, seniors, the sick or just happen to live way out in the boonies without transportation and have a 3-mile trek to the voting booth facing us, we don't need bleeding heart lip-service. What we want is our voices to be heard, our precious votes to be counted and the true consensus of the American people to be represented in elections.
Until next time, bright blessings to you and yours.
This Hub ©August 31, 2012 by Beth Perry
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