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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Photo ID

Blogger Jack Mitchell (Left in Lowell) and I go round and round about Voter ID.  I worry about voter fraud, and have worried about it on and off from 1960.  Remember the line attributed to Mayor Daley, "We just stole it back from the Republicans Down State."

Jack worries about voter suppression, and with good reason.  We have a long history of voter suppression—and I am not talking about our early national history of a restricted franchise.  We have a couple of strains of voter suppression, including Blacks in the South immediately after the Civil War and then from the 1890s on until the 1960s and70s.  That changed thanks to a Southern Democrat, the very complicated President Lyndon B Johnson, "Liberal Democrats" and Republicans.  Then there was the Progressives of the turn of the 20th Century, who tried to clean up government.  And in some areas a racism unrelated to Blacks.

But, as Massachusetts Secretary of State William Francis Galvin reminds us, Commonwealth law states that "You may be required to show personal identification to vote."  (Check page 19 of the recent mailing, "Massachusetts Information For Voters, 2013 Ballot Questions", mailed to your home by Secretary Galvin.)  Got some form of ID to take to the polls on Tuesday, 6 November 2012?

While we have a Voter ID law, other such laws are being challenged around the country, often by the Department of Justice.  One such is the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  Remember, those "bitter clingers" from four years ago.

Think Progress has a blog post on voter ID in Pennsylvania.  The last sentence reads:
Meanwhile, the law threatens to disfranchise as many as 750,000 state citizens, with new anecdotes of trouble obtaining a photo ID emerging every day.
If three-quarters of a million people in Pennsylvania have problems getting IDs we have a bigger problem than voting fraud or voter suppression.

A couple of months ago I walked into a Lowell bank were we have an account.  There was a sign saying "two IDs" may be required.  If 750,000 in Pennsylvania are without ID, how big is the problem action-wide?  Shouldn't we have a program for providing some sort of local photo ID for everyone who reaches the age of 16?  NB:  I am NOT talking about a National ID, which is anathema to all that is American.  I am talking about a local government entity, a town, a township, a city, a county, a state.  Maybe a school district.  I bet lots of school districts issue photo IDs.

We need to get a handle on this ID problem.  People need photo IDs to bank, to fly, and maybe to travel on a long haul train or bus, or to drive a car.  Let's make this easy for our fellow citizens.

Regards  —  Cliff

-3 W W 0.5


Renee said...

The way to protect your identity, is to vote every election. The election workers just know me, at this point.

Jack Mitchell said...

I don't have a problem with poll workers challenging a voter they suspect to not be who they claim to be. In such a case, the voter should be prepared to provide proof that they are who they claim and are residing at the address claimed, too. The authorized forms of proof are detailed below.

What I will fight, tooth and nail, is a compelling of a voter to present a photo ID by default. That is a tatic designed to surpress the vote.

From the SOS website.(bold mine)

Because of a new federal law, the Help America Vote Act of 2002 passed by Congress, any voter who registered to vote by mail on or after January 1, 2003, will be required to show identification when he/she votes for the first time since registering by mail in 2003. 42 U.S.C. § 15483(b)(4)(A); G. L. c. 54, § 76B. Acceptable identification must include the voter’s name and the address at which he/she is registered to vote, for example: a current and valid photo identification, current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other government document showing your name and address. If the voter does not provide such identification, the Help America Vote Act of 2002 requires that the voter may only cast a provisional ballot which will be counted later, but only after the voter’s eligibility to vote has been determined.

Additionally, an election officer, authorized to do so by the local election officials, may request any voter to present written identification. 950 C.M.R. § 54.04(6B). The requests must not discriminate in any way and may therefore be: entirely random, consistent, or based on reasonable suspicion. Id. Please note that there is no provision which permits observers to request identification from any voter or even to communicate with voters.

C R Krieger said...

OK, but do you agree that, aside from voting, there might be an ID issue, which should be addressed?

Regards  —  Cliff

Renee said...

And those without ID may have banking issues.

A percentage of adults have no bank account, and use non traditional means (pay day loans/cash checking services). I know a few.

Jack Mitchell said...

If ID is required to live on the grid, then one needs to manage that themselves.

Voting is OFF the grid, enshrined in our Constitution.

Renee said...

Jack won me with that argument.

Renee said...

Waiting for the person to challenge it, who is completely and truly off the grid.

C R Krieger said...

OK, I get it.  It was in today's Second Reading, The Epistle of St James (the one Martin Luther referred to as an Epistle of Straw):

"Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well…"

So, if you are off the grid and don't want to be, the best of British luck to you.

Got it.

Regards  —  Cliff

Jack Mitchell said...

Not at all. It's more like "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar."

Voting is not enterprise.

Renee said...

When we think of individuals off the grid, we think of the mentally ill or a young woman who is being trafficked for her body. Many teen run aways are off the grid, which is one of the nice things about Facebook it makes it easy for social workers to find them.