People who support voter ID can't understand why people would be opposed to it. Two examples are brought up when talking about the issue. One is there is a lot of fraud out there and voter ID would cause this not to happen. There are people who have devoted more time to explaining how there isn't a lot of voter fraud that voter ID would protect people from, so let's just put that off to the side. The second point for voter ID is that there are many things you need ID for, so for example if you have to show ID to buy beer or get into some building or ride in a plane, showing ID to vote isn't that different.

People who oppose voter ID feel that asking for an official voter ID card while voting is akin to a poll tax. Of course, when people claim asking for ID is akin to racism, people shut off the discussion because they want to believe racism doesn't exist in this county. For this discussion, let's take out the racism question.

When people vote, in most states they go down to the voting poll, state their name and someone looks them up on a log they have. If the name is there, they get a ballot and are able to vote. One time I had moved to a new place and went to vote and since I was new to the polling place they wanted a utility bill in my name. My driver's license wasn't sufficient, so I walked back home, got the bill, came back and I was able to vote. Two years later I didn't need the utility bill, but I had it with me just in case.

When I have gone to comment areas where voter ID is being discussed, the prevailing view of those defending voter ID is unless someone has something to hide, we always have to use our ID for something. I would ask this question, how many times in a week do you pull out your ID, and by ID I mean state or federally issued ID? Don't just throw up a number, actually think about the number of times you use it. You might find it is less than you think. In the past month I have had to show my ID once. Yes, really one time, and now that I think about it it has been close to two months. When I went to see The Avengers, I paid with a debit card and the person at the counter asked for ID. The only other times in the past six months I've been asked to show ID has been when I go to Fry's Electronics and pay with my debit card. In the past six months I have bought something from Fry's three times. Now within six months I have been to other movie theaters, paid with a credit card and haven't been asked for ID. Actually I just remembered I used my ID, a combination of driver's license and passport another eight times. The reason is I took two trips to San Diego/Mexico and on each trip I had to show a combination of ID four times per trip; my passport with TSA to and from San Diego and when coming back into the United States, and I had to show my ID for the hotel in Mexico even though I paid in cash.

The trips add a little spin to the ID argument, but without those two trips I still didn't use my ID as much as some advocates for voter ID would make you believe people use ID. I guess, if I really think about it, I could discard the hotel since I was in another country. The thing is, even with adding the trip, in six months I haven't had to pull out my ID much and I've been able to function just fine in society.

I've bought food at different establishments, either large chain grocery stores, mom and pop places, fast food, restaurants and at none of them did I have to show ID. I will say I haven't bought liquor at restaurants but I have bought it at mom and pop and chain grocery stores and I haven't been carded.

OK, so someone might ask about utilities, because you need ID to set up one of those. In my case I saw the power company had my California driver's license on file and not my new one. I've had the new one for at least three years. I've moved since I set up the account and when I went from one apartment to another, and had to set up a new account, they just transferred the information from one to another.

We are far from the 'show your ID' nation a lot of the voter ID advocates would like us to believe. It is very easy to function without having an ID, be it someone old or young. What tends to cause people not to have an ID is lapses. Let's say you don't have a car and you take the bus to work. You forget your ID expired because you don't have a car and it's not something you check all the time. They verified you at work so you don't need an ID there. If you want beer or something you can go to the local bar where they know you or to the store where they know you. Utilities have long been in your name. So when is it where you need an ID? Understand, I've given a scenario where the person is living alone. What about where a person is with a roommate or there is a domestic partner? They may have the lease in their name and not yours, so when did you have to show ID for that? Never of course. If you are too poor for a credit card, you might not have a bank account, so you never used ID to open an account. And let's be truthful, how many people actually need to go into a bank? I had an account set up by my mother for me when I was 12 years old. I never had to update my ID on the account and I had that account until 5 years ago. Most of my business for the last ten years I had the account was by ATM.

The argument for voter ID sounds great on paper or when explained in an ideal environment. I remember when the argument was red hot during the Republican primaries when some pundits would talk about how they had to use ID to get into the studios so obviously everybody had to use ID. They ignored the reality we live in. We don't use ID as much as we would like to think, and for those who choose not to (which is easier than many would think) or for those who can't get an ID for whatever reason, functioning with out an ID is incredibly easy. The argument is put in the context of people never having an ID when the reality is they had an ID at one time, but they don't now. The underlying factor is still the same; voter ID requirement is nothing more than a hurdle to people who don't have government ID but have been voting for years or who are otherwise eligible to vote. Why put so many hurdles for people who are legally able to vote?


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Voting without Papers - June 24, 2012
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