Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Costco and Voting

Yesterday I blew up at the lady at my polling place. It started when I gave my name and she looked it up in the book. There was my signature, partially missing, poorly photocopied, and a blank line next to it. "However you write your name now, you have to write it this way."

"What?" I asked, not quite getting what she meant.

"If you changed the way you sign your name, you have to make it look like this one." She repeated.

"Huh? I haven't changed my name" I said.

"If you write your name differently, don't do it. You have to write your name the way it is written in this book" She said, somewhat exasperated. Apparently she was in a bad mood because the other person at the table "didn't move the rubber band" - or so she kept complaining.

At this point I finally got what she said and got a big grin on my face, thinking of my own stupidity. But that didn't sit well with her.

"Sir, this is not a joke! she said sternly.

That set me off. "Oh but it is a joke. I walk in here carrying three forms of government issued IDs, but the thing that's going to determine whether I can exercise my right to vote is whether I can copy a squiggle on a page, while looking at it right on the page next to me? I could vote for any person in that book and you couldn't say a word, because it would be 'racist' for anyone to verify that I actually was voting as myself. That's the joke, and it's not funny!'

I looked around. Everyone at the polling place was grinning and nodding. I wondered briefly if anyone would start a slow clap, but before that could happen I handed my voter slip to the nice man and disappeared behind the curtain of the voting machine. In another few seconds I was done and slipped out the door.

I thought about the issue later as I was leaving Costco. I had to produce my receipt to go out the door. Why? To verify that I had a legal right to the good in my cart. Every time I by a movie ticket, or a plane or train ticket, the same things happens. I have to have an insurance card to show that I am insured. I have to have a driver's license to show I can drive. A registration to show that I registered my car. I have to register for social security and for every other government service. But for voting, which is arguably the most important interaction I have with my government, they don't care who I am, or if I have voted already.

Some people say that requiring an ID to vote is racist because it would affect minority voters' right to vote. But when someone votes using another identity, or votes twice, they are effectively taking away the right to vote from a legal voter, by nullifying their vote. What about the rights of those voters who lose their vote to fraud?

By the same logic we need to get rid of social security, obamacare, student loans, the DMV, insurance companies, movie theaters, and Costco, because they are all racist for requiring some form of identification. And the thing that sickens me most of all is that the media, and the consumers of media are unable to present or comprehend the other side of the issue.


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