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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Voter ID: So Simple A Ten Month-Old Can Do It

I’m planning to take the family with me on my next business trip. In order to avoid an annoying episode with some bureaucrat at the airport, we decided to get my son his very first government ID. After going through this process with a ten month-old child I know without a doubt that all arguments against voter ID are totally bogus. They’ll give a state ID to anyone, provided they’re a citizen and have some proof. The hardest parts of the whole process are being prepared and standing in line.

All that we needed to apply for a state ID was his birth certificate and Social Security number. So, we started our day at the Waukesha County court house, where we got our copies of my son’s birth certificate. Three copies cost twenty-six dollars. And, it wasn't even a problem that his mother and I aren't married, she signed for them, and I paid. We did have to go through a security checkpoint, though. That part was a little rough. We then went to the DMV, where we filled out a very simple form, in ink.

Provided that you are a well-behaved citizen, a Social Security number and birth certificate are all that’s required to verify your identity. If you’ve had some brushes with the law, drunk driving, or revocations you may have some more explaining to do at this point. If you’re not a citizen there may be some extra paperwork, as well. But, you shouldn’t be voting if you’re not a citizen, so this discussion doesn’t really apply to you anyway.

After you wait the government allotted time in line, you get to pay for the new ID. An ID now costs twenty-eight dollars, ten of which allegedly goes to pay for some federal security screening or something. Presumably, this is the markup applied for the Real ID Act. Once you pay your fee, they take a really bad picture and hand you Baby’s First ID Card.

The whole experience cost us fifty-four dollars, the better part of a morning, and a trip to Starbucks, and that’s it. If you have your birth certificate or order it through the mail it’s even easier. So why do people bother complaining about Voter ID?

Some of them say that there are people who can’t get to the DMV to get an ID.

Horse feathers! If you can get to a polling place, the bank, the grocery store, the doctor, the pharmacy, or the social security office you most likely have the means to get to the DMV. For those handful of people who truly cannot make this trip through any other means, I’m sure that Voter ID would inspire volunteers to rise to the occasion. There’s already no shortage of volunteers willing to drive people to polling places. This is just one more stop along the way.

Some people say that it’s too much bother to get an ID and people who want to vote might not do it.

I stood at the DMV with a ten month old. Suck it up, chump. Besides, if you can’t be bothered to do this once every eight years for the sake of doing your civic duty, something tells me that locating your polling place and actually going is too much bother for you as well.

Some people say that the fees are too high.

I totally agree. Thirty dollars isn’t play money, even in a responsible middle class family. Without an ID, there isn’t much you can do in this state besides vote. Something so necessary for daily life should be more accessible. It’s too darn bad that our governor has decided to hide our taxes in fees. He really ought to deal with the budget by cutting out the fat.

The moral of this story:

If our governor was honest, Voter ID would be a fair and accessible way to police the voting process.

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