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
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