Anyone who thinks that new state laws requiring voters to produce a state-issued photo ID in order to vote aren’t a big deal needs to think again.
I recently had to acquire a new state photo ID due to a change of residence, and this was no easy task. New rules passed since the events of 9/11 – eleven years ago today – have made getting a driver’s license in some states, for example, even more difficult than it used to be to get a U.S. passport.
Besides having to complete a complex application form with tricky questions, you have to produce a number of documents, including a birth certificate and a Social Security card (I had to get a new copy of the latter, since I couldn’t put my hands on mine), and you have to pony up a not-insignificant fee (can you say “poll tax”?).
It actually took me several trips to the DMV, where I had to deal with multiple agents for different tasks, including photo-taking, scanning of documents, filing of application and review of said documents, and not every agent was, how can I put it, as friendly and courteous as those at the local post office.
In fact, the whole experience was frighteningly Kafkaesque, and I seriously doubted at one point if I was going to be able to get my new photo license, even though I had everything necessary to qualify.
Just imagine what it would be like to come face to face with someone who wasn’t just getting her rocks off by making you sweat, but actually wanted to deny you your right to your ID because she didn’t want to see you vote, for whatever reason (we all know what the reason is).
South Carolina governor Nikki Haley’s comments at the GOP convention, that “if you have to show a picture ID to set foot on an airplane, then you should have to show picture ID to protect one of the most valuable, most central, sacred rights we are blessed with in America — the right to vote,” is at best disingenuous and at worst tendentious. She of all people should know better.
Besides, her logic is faulty and flawed. It doesn’t immediately follow necessarily that the reasons for having to show a photo ID for buying drugs or getting on an airplane apply to voting — especially since the history of imposing requirements on would-be voters, especially in the South, is a long, sordid history of attempts at denying minorities the right to vote.
This is no joke. Remember, just a few years back, a national election was stolen from the victor based on one Southern state’s shenanigans to disqualify votes in order to throw the election to that state’s governor’s brother. We can’t allow the same or a similar thing to happen this November, especially if it looks like the tally of the Electoral College is going to be close.