Wednesday, February 22, 2017

“Fighting voter ID laws in the courts isn’t enough. We need boots on the ground”

I tend not to wear boots. placeholder for soon to come post.

She approached the table marked “Voter ID Assistance” and explained that with the 2016 presidential primary only a few months away, and despite several trips to the DMV, she still didn’t have a valid ID as mandated by Wisconsin’s strict new laws. It turned out she needed a Social Security card but wasn’t sure how to obtain one.

So here's a problem already. Voting should in no way be contingent on whether one chooses to participate in social security. Sure, most of us do, and are suckered into it by our parents before we are able to give informed consent. Then, it's needed to get a bank account or hold a job, with a few scattered exceptions perhaps for the amish or certain minsters. But for those with the priviledge not to work, and are able to shelter their funds or don't have funds to shelter, opting ou of social security was probably difficult enough that a reasonable person wouldn't opt back in just to vote. So this harms the principle of universal suffrage, and is a content based discrimination on who gets to speak via voting. That should trigger strict scrutiny.

I actually agreed with the rest of the column, which detailed the uneven and often severe burden on the poor and those traditionally disenfranchised. 

However, those litigating voter ID may be missing the boat in focusing on the poor, blacks, the undocumented, the elderly, etc. I'm a white male middle aged republican conservative. I'm unwilling to participate in voter ID because it violates my rights. I miss voting. I even took the unusual step of voting absentee in the 2016 general election at a time when I wasn't sure if I'd be back from Texas by election day. Ordinarily when I go to vote, and decline to present ID, I am met with varying degrees of hostility. Sometimes I'm given a provisional ballot that is later thrown away; often I'm not.

As a single individual doing this, it's easy to dismiss me as crazy. The more of us who were willing to put our boots on the ground and stand up for our right to vote, without any poll tax reciept or voting license, the harder it would be for them to keep getting away with it.

I challenge anyone reading this to do the same.

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