Barred from Voting

Last year I had to cash a check at Bank of America. I was expecting them to skim off a ‘convenience fee’ on their own check, because they can, and banks often do. Their own name on the check doesn’t mean anything is ‘honored’. This time the teller only demanded my fingerprint. I was in a hurry, and complied, and felt a little stab of humiliation as I traded some dignity for the money I needed for Christmas presents.

When I hear people use the banks as a model of what bars we should put in the way of voting, I think this is a step in the wrong direction. Voter ID is chasing an imaginary problem with real harm to Democracy…

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — One of the lead plaintiffs in a lawsuit to block Pennsylvania’s new Voter ID law has been granted the identification necessary to cast her ballot despite lacking the documentation required to get the card.

Ninety-three-year-old Viviette Applewhite received her temporary identification card on Thursday, the same day her attorneys appealed a judge’s ruling upholding the law Applewhite sued over.

I was a poll watcher in the last elections. It is not true that gangs of people can wander into the polls and vote fraudulently without being noticed. Where are the outraged citizens who were told they already voted? You’d think there would be some, with all this fear of impersonators stealing the vote.

Of course, there are much more sophisticated ways to steal votes than to run around recruiting fake voters. Voter ID is just a way to make it more difficult to vote.

Many Americans worked, marched and died to give us this right. Don’t ever surrender your vote. And keep an eye out unless you want to hand over a fingerprint and a convenience fee next time you go to the polls.

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13 thoughts on “Barred from Voting

  1. I’m shocked-shocked that you are a poll watcher-I feel the system here has been so loose it’s a waste of time.All you have to do is know someone’s name and address and be the correct gender and you can vote.I had that same problem with Bank America-I refused to give a fingerprint or pay a “convenience fee”-I took the check to my own bank.I will never deal with Bank America.

  2. There is a limit to what can or should be tolerated. The framers of the Constitution certainly had in mind an aware electorate and a legitimate electorate. One requires an identification to drive a car, cash a check, buy alcohol, order a medical prescription at times, cash a check or use a credit card at times. These are just a very few of the realities of life. To believe that unidentified people should be able to cast a ballot is not only absurd, but downright dangerous to any democracy. I would also add the additional requirement that a voter needs to be able to read the ballot, and this can be accomplished by having voter ID cards. Let’s get real about the intent and purpose of voting and being a citizen.

    • I have to say that voters must register, most states require this in advance. They are checked off against a list of registered voters by poll workers. Some people don’t know the process, and could get the impression that there are no safeguards in place already to protect the vote. I don’t know if anyone went to vote and found that their name had been crossed off already. If this happened, is it a common enough crime that we should invent new laws? Is it a gain to discourage legitimate voters from voting?

  3. There is no doubt that these lD laws are being promoted by Republicans to lower minority voting, and they have not bothered to show actuaol cases of abuse that these laws would address. But thaty said, I think there it is important that the public have confidence in the fairness of elections, and that is no reason to think, in RI at least, that anyone’s rightful vote will be denied, especially as “provisional” ballots are allowed.

    I was a poll worker at the spring primary and most voters wanted to show ID, only one person who forgot an ID decided not to vote, and we had no provisional ballots. Of course that was an election with very light turnout,, and I am wondering if the IDs will slow the lines significantly when there is a heavier turnout. In that case, poll workers will be under pressure to take an extremely suprefiail look at any IDs.

    So while I don’t think the ID laws will be much of a problem here, I also think there should be efforts to extend the voting period by early voting as is the case with many states, or moving Election Day to a weekend when working people would have more time to vote.

  4. I have dealt with cases of voting by non citizens going back to the 80’s-last time I mentioned this,I was called a liar by some creep here(not present company)but the people who did the time might disagree.It happens and proving a negative is really not feasible.The whole “disenfranchisement”argument is a red herring by professional ethnic activists and leftists.Two can come to this argument .

    • I will take your word that you have seen cases of voting by non-citizens. But we do have a national history of disenfranchisement by underhanded means such as poll taxes and literacy tests. The ‘professional ethnic activists’– and I know you are talking about the Inuit– have solid reasons to be vigilant about voting rights.
      In medicine, everything is risk vs benefit. A lot of people have gotten sick or died with unproved treatments for imaginary diseases. You don’t see Geritol on the market anymore, it probably sent a few elders to Heaven early.
      So do we want to deal with the fear that an illegal vote will be cast by putting obstacles in the way of voters exercising their rights? Will that do more harm than good?

  5. Your remark about the Inuit was really very funny-haha.I’m speaking of some Black and Hispanic “leaders”I’ve seen on various news shows promoting the idea that we’re going back to Jim Crow days-that’s bullsh*t to put it plainly.I cannot imagine there is a significant number of Black non citizens who will attempt to vote – actually most Black immigrants naturalize rather quickly because they originate from English speaking countries-okay,some French speakers from Haiti and West Africa,but not that many.
    The situation in Hispanic communities is different-I cannot go into detail here,but I am aware of people right here in RI who are voter registrars that are not legally in the US-so who do you think they are registering?This isn’t something that recent either.If you don’t want to believe me,I really don’t care-I know what the truth is.
    If voter ID”suppresses”the vote of non citizens-GOOD-it’s supposed to.I cannot picture a naturalized citizen being intimidated by voter ID-they know they have the right and they all have adequate ID-their citizenship certificate for starters.
    And while we’re on the subject of voter ID,who introduced it in RI?Rep.Williams and Sen.Metts-both Black individuals.They obviously saw a problem that needed to be addressed-neither is a conservative by any stretch(I know about Sen.Metts on same sex marriage-but he’s otherwise a liberal).I haven’t seen Asian and East Indians organizing over this-hmmm?There are,unfortunately,a good number of manipulative con artists who batten on their “own” people to amass power and wealth-it was the same with Jews,Italians,Irish,etc in earlier times.The infamous “ward heelers”.They preyed on ignorance and fear-I grew up in a working class Jewish neighborhood that was controlled by these sleazy type of politicians-Emmanuel Celler comes to mind-he was a miserable thief,but people practically groveled at his feet.Pitiful.
    If you had any clue of the ripoffs in the Hispanic community,you’d throw up.I worked cases where people lost their entire savings trying to get “fixed”by dishonest “advisors”.Read the Journal if you need a hint.I shouldn’t have been vague.I guess I’ve corrected that.There was one outfit called Liz International that was run by an Ecuadorian and his US Citizen wife,originally from the DR-we convicted both on numerous fraud charges-their victims paid exorbitant fees for fraudulent political asylum applications-these people had no chance of getting it,but these two creeps took them for everything they could.Some people think we just chased some poor mopes looking for work in INS,but the truth was we targeted the worst people we could locate.Even the big factory raids were aimed at employers who were engaging in exploitation-okay going off topic.If you find someone too intimidated to vote who is a citizen I’d be amazed.

  6. It is odd that on the one hand we extoll the virtues of the democratic process, but require less to maintain the integrity of that process than for example requirements for cashing a check, buying alcohol, purchasing clothing, getting a new cell phone, or getting a credit card. We don’t even ask that a minimum standard of being able to read a ballot be enforced. I doubt that an effective democracy can be maintained if non-citizens are able to influence elections or dilute the vote of citizens. By comparison, Mexico, for example, requires stringent documentation for voting, and ejects non-citizens with great force and determination.

  7. The people who run this blog have preconceived ideas that they don’t like challenged.A lot of it is simply emotion over reason.The whole 2008 Presidential election was a victory of emotional appeal.I don’t think it’s worked out very well.

    • Joe, almost all elections are based on emotional appeal: JFK’s “new frontier,” Reagan’s “morning in America,” Bush 1 using the Pledge of Alligence, Bush 2 using “compassionate conservatism,” all empty of content.
      I think the 2008 election worked out pretty well with the economy stabilized, health care expanded, auto industry saved while efficiency standards finally improved, investments made in alternate energy and infrastructure including our long neglected railroads, consumer protecton enhanced, and the wars wound down (though slower than I wold have liked.) Not bad.
      But I still agree with Joe that there should be little reason the RI voter id law should stop any legit voter from voting. Florida is something else.

      • The “economy” is a disaster. The total work force has diminished and those people are not included in the usual unemployment number. It is understood that actual unemployment, that total of people able to work but unable to find jobs, is actually 15%, not 8.2%. Energy prices are miserably too high because of the most destructive energy policies put in force ever in the history of the nation. U.S. border policy is a disaster; and foreign policy is a continuing failure as we throw away $2 billion a week in Afghanistan and continue to lose some of the best of our young people in a senseless engagement. The Middle East is in turmoil, and we have all but abandoned our friends in Poland, Georgia, and the Czech Republic. At home the corruption seen in the renewable energy disaster of lost monies will be the subject of much writing as more information emerges. It is certain that Mr. Obama is the most inept President since Mr. Carter, with a buffoon for a Vice president, the ever foot-in-mouth Mr. Biden. This is hardly a bright picture of the nation on the eve of the Democratic and Republican conventions.

      • Donald, I do appreciate an opportunity to exchange views on important issues (though I object to your ridiculous use of the needlessly insulting word “bufoon” for our serious and knowlegable Vice President who actually has made very few gaffes except in the mind of the right-wing media) but in my opinion, you have lmost everyrthing backwards.

        Obama inherited a disaster, an economy losing 600,000 jobs/month, the dow-jones tanking to about 7000, the auto industry on the ropes, public employees including teachers and police threatened with massive layoffs. Despite relentless Republican oppositon (they even admitted their legislative priority was to make Obama fail) using filibustering to unprecedented degrees, he has largely turned the economy around, growing jobs (despite continuing losses in the underfinaced public sector) and seeing the dow rebound to over 13,000. There is not the slightest evidence of adminsitration corruption in energy, where despite some environmental controls (not enough), oil and gas production has increased and we are finally getting investment n non-fossil fuel energy our planet desperately needs. Donald, the reason ventures like Solindra has failed is not that alternative energy has failed, but free trade rules with China continues to undermine American production. He has also started to make the necessary investment in infrastructure, even over Republican opposition.

        The Mideast has always been a mess and not subject to US control, but we have at least wound down the Bush war in Iraq, another disaster that Obama inherited and has largely resolved. Our relations with allies is generally better than before when the US acted unilaterally. I do agree with you about the waste of our troops and $$ in Afghanistan and blame Obama for increasing the involvement in another war he inherited. Still, considering the circumstances, I would say overall Obama is a most remarkably effective President.

        And this does not even speak to some success in expanding health care access, consumer protection, defending reproductive freedom, expandng civil rights for gays, environmental controls on power plant emissions, improvements in auto efficiency standards, smart-growth initiatives, and maintaing civil discourse in the face of birthers, racism, and “you-lie” hatred. The national GOP wants to go backwards on all that.

  8. @Barry-you’re probably right about emotion ruling the roost in Presidential elections-I thought Gerald Ford did a good job,but he had no “shtick”,so he lost to Jimmy Carter and Carter was a disaster at home and abroad.JFK would never have made it in this age of super intrusive media and instantaneous communication because his bedroom antics would’ve finished him off fast.

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