(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
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
I COULD NOT REGISTER TO VOTE!
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.