(By Fay Paxton, cross-posted at The Pragmatic Pundit)

I have never bought into the whole voter ID scam because I know history and bullshit.  Doesn’t it strike anyone as hypocritical that the small government advocates, who hate mandates have mandated that everyone has to have a government ID?  In light of the fact that voter fraud is virtually non-existent, there’s no reason to believe that the same identification process that has always worked will continue to serve us well.  Still, there’s nothing like personal experience to give validity to one’s argument.

Let me give you my personal encounter with the voter identification process:

Some months ago, I moved to Kansas.  As is required, I went to the Department of Motor Vehicles to exchange my driver’s license for a Kansas license, to make record of my new address and to register to vote.  In order to make certain I would cover every possibility, I simply grabbed what I call “my identity packet” which contains the following:

My birth certificate
My social security card and my last social security statement that projects my benefits
A passport
Current 1099’s
My current tax return
My insurance policy
My Dependent Care Packet (a notarized, exhaustive packet issued by the military to anyone who will be responsible for the care of military children in the event of disability or death of a soldier)

I have credit cards and debit cards
A current driver’s license and automobile registration
A picture ID issued by the United States Armed Forces

To verify my new address I took mail I had received, since my relocation from:

The utility company
The Telephone company
My rental lease
A registered letter from the Internal Revenue Service


Acceptable Documents

Most of the items are simply not on the list of acceptable documents and clearly the people charged with verifying identity have no authority to use common sense.  My passport was issued in my hyphenated married name so I needed an original copy of my divorce decree to verify that my name has changed and of course, a copy of my marriage license to prove that I was married in the first place.

Okay, I get that the tax items were not on the list of acceptable items but a Dependent Care Package, a legal affidavit issued by the United States Army? They investigate and verify every aspect of one’s life; employment, income, family relations, assets, etc.  But then the military ID which allows you to prowl, unescorted around a military base, does not contain an expiration date.  Why is an expiration date even necessary?  If my driver’s license expires tomorrow, do I cease being the person on the picture?  Is the house I’ve resided in for twenty years no longer my address? That’s like saying if you don’t know your birthday, you were never born.  And isn’t the requirement to have a picture ID a mandate?

The items I used to verify my new address were not accepted because, as the clerk explained, “I have you listed at an address in Chicago and one in Maryland.”  Hmmm.  She accepted that the person with multiple addresses was me but the person standing before her was not.

I explained that I own property in both places, but that clearly I wasn’t presently residing in either place.  The lease and utility bill verifying my new address were meaningless.  As was the registered letter from the IRS.  The postman had required my identification and signature.  But IRS was not on the list!

Alas, I exist, afterall

During a second visit, exasperated, I rifled through my documents looking for something acceptable, when the clerk suddenly said, “Oh, I can accept this.”  She picked up an unopened letter from my bank and though it was clearly postmarked, SHE OPENED IT!  “I have to verify that there has been activity in the last three months.”  I was no longer exasperated, I was pissed!

The information for my new driver’s license printed out, along with my voter’s registration.  I was photographed  for my new driver’s license.  I took a seat and waited for my name to be called.

I watched as an elderly woman, barely able to walk grappled with the fact that she still carried her husband’s name despite the fact he had been dead for decades.  She waved the death certificate and marriage license.

“He was killed in the war….I’ve lived in the same house for over fifty years….you know me.”  She was at the brink of tears.

“I understand”
, the clerk explained. “Don’t blame me, blame all these bad illegals who are taking advantage of us all and have made it bad for everybody.” 

“Well, don’t punish me…I am an American citizen….my husband and son both fought and died in wars for this country and I’m not going to be able to vote?”

The clerk handed her a tissue.  “What you will have to do is change your name back to your own name.”  She gave her the address and necessary information.  “After you have officially changed your name, bring in the official papers and I will be able to issue you a state ID.”

Just so you know, she was white.  I couldn’t help but think of my own mother, who never had a driver’s license…never owned a car…she never learned to drive.  Not because she was poor, she was anything but that, it just isn’t a necessity or desire in everyone’s life to own a car.


I was thoroughly disgusted by the time I left.  A couple of months later, it occurred to me that I had not received a voter’s registration card, nor any communication from the election board.  I retrieved the form and for the first time, inspected the registration.  It had no first name printed on it; not even an initial.  How did that happen when it printed out at the same time as the driver’s license which contained my first name and middle initial?

At the County Clerk’s office, a worker complained that “she was tired of correcting their mistakes”.  But was it a mistake?  How many people will even notice the error before election day?  They think they’re registered, but they will not be able to vote.

On the fourth of July, I had a cookout for 22 soldiers.  Why did 14 of them complain that they had not be able to vote in the last election?  Every one of these men had been deployed to Iraq and/or Afghanistan more than once to risk their lives so the enemy can vote, while they were denied that right in their own country.

Voters have always had to identify themselves, there simply was a different standard of identification.  And the statistics prove, it was a system of identification that worked…FOR A HUNDRED YEARS!  Those who argue that photo identification is required to buy a beer or fly, fail to differentiate between a privilege and a Constitutional right.

I often read comments that question how individuals who receive government benefits can do so without identification, but the argument simply confirms that a photo ID is not necessary to prove who you are. Just as the clerk was able to tell me all my addresses, they have a hundred databases to pull from and crosscheck.  In fact, the government knows where you are as you read this article.   Shame on you people who uphold an activity that infringes on peoples Constitutional rights.  Voting isn’t a Democratic or Republican right.  It’s an American right!

Note:  So many people have emailed to ask, I thought I’d let everyone know, I still have not received my voter registration card.

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11 Responses to “I COULD NOT REGISTER TO VOTE! – The Voter Identification MANDATE”

  1. Expatmom Says:

    Why would a widow need to change her name back to her maiden name??? That would be the basis of a law suit. Men are not forced to do this. My mother was married 5 times. By law, she could use any of her husband’s name as long it was not for fraudulent purposes.

  2. cherylrobert44 Says:

    I am sorry you had such a hard time changing your drivers licence. It shows very clearly what documents you would need to do this. Now that you are a resident you shoud complain to your representive to get this changed to what you feel is appropriate. I have looked on the Kansas DMV website and I can not find where Kansas is a “motor voter” state where you can register at dmv. If i am wrong i apologize but it is your responsibility to make sure all your documents are correct. also I find it really hard to believe that the old woman did not have some sort of state issued photo id.If she has not how has she done the basic things of writing a check or cashing one?

  3. cherylrobert44 Says:

    why did the soliders say they couldn’t vote in the last election ??

  4. ShastaMcLaine Says:

    Maybe you have to go through all the rigamarole to get a new driver’s license, but not to register to vote. You don’t even have to provide a photo ID of yourself at this point in time. Which will change 1/1/2013 when you have to prove citizenship to register to vote. Please email me and tell me which county in Kansas this was.

  5. jgrant9253 Says:

    You sure went through a lot of pain to get to vote. That is sad.

  6. ShastaMcLaine Says:

    Come on, Fay…answer the questions. This just sounds wrong. Here’s a link to Kansas’ current voter registration form. NO ID REQUIRED!


    Reads like creative fiction to me. And I’m a progressive who’s been registering voters in Kansas all summer.

  7. eyesbright Says:

    I’m not thanking you for this, Fay, because I’m now being called a liar (they mean you) for sharing it with my political discussion group. The feeling there is the “crying widow” stuff was a dead giveaway that your story is, at best, exaggerated and, at worst, an outright lie. I’m sadly afraid that you’ve done real harm to the people who are working so hard to prevent voter suppression. I’d love to see you come up with something concrete to prove your story is true but I don’t expect that to happen.

  8. michelleszen Says:

    I just went through hell in Texas trying to do the same. Even if the rules for a voter ID are more lenient than getting a driver’s license, THE POINT IS THAT MANY STATES ARE REQUIRING A DL IN ORDER TO VOTE. I moved to TX from Michigan, got married, and took my husband’s name. Being that he is hispanic, he has two last names. At the secretary of state the federal government gave me his first last name only, as is culturally correct, his father’s name. The TX DMV would only let me take his mother’s name (which is NOT my legal last name) or both of HIS names, as listed on the marriage license, they would not accept my legal name on my SSN card. So, as it turns out, I had to take his father’s and mother’s name for my drivers license. THIS MAKES ME MY HUSBAND’S SISTER. They would not let me take his last name and mine. Why didn’t he list just one last name on the marriage license? The state wouldn’t allow him to, he had to match his passport. What about the fact that you do not have to take your husband’s name when you get married? They don’t care. Maiden name or I have to be my husband’s sister. I am a bit concerned that on voting day, since my legal name will not match my DL….will they let me vote? As far as the other documents…it took me a long time to get everything together. I had to have my parents mail me my original birth certificate, which made me very nervous. I had to get my car inspected, have the right address on my insurance, pay sales tax on the value of my car AGAIN on a car that I OWNED to have it registered in the new state….(yes, that is double taxation.) The requirements for the right documents that were mailed, and dated, with the right address, at least 30 days before…..were extensive. It was a nightmare. I wanted to cry.

  9. Winning Progressive Says:

    Fay is having trouble logging on to comment right now, so I am posting her responses to the comments above:

    * Expatmom:

    Yours is certainly a fair question. Her house (address) was in her maiden name, but whatever she was presenting for identification was in her married name. I agree with everything you’ve said, but this is the kind of difficulty this particular clerk was mounting.

    * Cherylrobert44:

    Cheryl, I am very aware of what the DMV says are acceptable forms of identification. I also feel I certainly had what was necessary. I have only traveled all over the world, so I know how to identify myself. Here’s my question for you, should I have collared her and demanded she accept what I was presenting? As for writing and cashing checks, some people don’t…I don’t. I accept your apology, and yes, you can register to vote at the DMV in Geary County. I also suggest you read Michelle’s comment.

    There was more than one reason the soldiers were told they couldn’t vote, but primarily because of location; they needed to register where they were stationed or could not obtain absentee ballots. There has been some debate about changing the way soldiers vote, but the changes haven’t happened yet. Knowing that doesn’t help on election day.

    * Shasta:

    I’ve lived in every major city in this country, so I know how to register to vote. I have no doubt that the clerk was most probably out of bounds, but it doesn’t change the fact that she handled the situation as she did. The county is Geary County. If I had been presenting a fairytale, I would have said so. Sorry, I took so long to answer you, but I’m in Paris, having traveled with the same passport she wouldn’t accept. You also need to read Michelle’s comment.

    * jgrant:

    I’ve never had that experience before. You’d think since I had a driver’s license, it should have been a piece of cake.

    * eyebright:

    I certainly understand because it sounds insane. I, frankly felt she was just being bitch, but she was in the driver’s seat, just as poll-workers will be on election day. I felt the elderly lady was just frustrated. My impression was that she had been there more than once and personally knew the clerk. It seemed she had at one point taken her marriage license, but it wasn’t accepted because it was a copy. At any rate, the confusion had something to do with her name versus the name on the residence. You have to verify your address.

    * michelle:

    I am so very sorry you had to go through such a difficult ordeal. As you can see from the comments, people don’t want to believe that they are throwing up these kinds of barriers. I had still not received my registration card before I left, but I will be on top of it as soon as I return.

    Please make certain you are actually registered and will be able to vote. Good luck.

  10. What’s REALLY the matter with Kansas: “I could not register to vote” :: News From Underground Says:

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  11. TSHunter Says:

    Funny. I used to live in Kansas ( moved back to MI in 2008 ) and still have friends who are residents there ( Riley County ). When I lived there. I had no problem whatsoever registering to vote. I spoke to one of my friends after reading this to see if things changed that much since I lived there and she said no. Kansas and Michigan are almost identical. In MI, we register at the same time that we get our license or state ID. The ONLY time we need to show our ID is at the polls. And all we need to get our Drivers license is: Birth Certificate, SS card, two utility bills, and MAYBE a marriage license. I can’t understand why you had such a hard time IF you even had a hard time.

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