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Old 04-24-2016, 07:41 PM
Hari Seldon Hari Seldon is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Trantor
Posts: 11,541
It is very hard to discuss this in GQ. But let me just mention a few things about establishing ID. In general, they want a birth certificate. Different states have different requirements for issuing a BC. When I needed one to prove my age for retirement, I simply wrote to the PA registrar of vital statistics with a check for something like $6 and after an exchange (owing to the fact that the name I use is not the same as that on the BC) it was sent by return mail. Great. But I hear tell that if you are in some states, you actually have to go to some central registry and apply for it. Now if you can take a day off work and own a car you can drive to it, fine. But poor people cannot take a day off work and also have no way to get there since there is little or no public transportation in rural areas.

The first time I voted, in suburban Philadelphia, I just went to some office and registered. It was assumed I was a citizen or I wouldn't have asked to register. When I voted, I gave my name and they sent me to a voting booth and I pulled the levers on the machine. When I moved to NY, much the same. And in IL. Then I moved to Canada and have voted absentee in IL ever since (federal offices only).

When I moved to Canada, I got a driver's licence. After a couple years, medicare came and I got a medicare card. Eventually, both got pictures. I register to vote when I file tax returns and I use my medicare car as voter ID. In the US there is simply no standard ID and therein lies the problem.

Incidentally, while the documentation required for a student ID might be much less that that required for a gun permit, it is not significantly less than what you need for a driver's license.

When the Republican-dominated PA legislature passed a voter ID law, a Republican official exulted that now the Dems didn't have a chance to win the state. Somehow the law was suspended and the Dems did win in 2012.

And to mention something lightly touched on above, the question of enough voting booths in poor (mostly black) precincts is another contentious issue. A friend of mine who lived in Ohio in 2000 said that a few weeks before the election in the year, the Republican governor ordered the removal of several hundred voting machines from poor Cleveland areas where they were desperately needed to rural areas of the state where they were not. As a result, in some Cleveland precincts people lined for hours and many left discouraged, which might have changed the outcome of the election. I read that in the recent AZ primary, there was at least one precinct that had no polling station at all, so residents were disfranchised.