Just in time for Election Day, but much too late for early voting! Remember, today is your last day for early voting.
This post was inspired by a meaningful (at least it was meaningful to me) Facebook discussion I had with a real life friend. It all started when I posted the meme on the right. My friend had a very intelligent response to my comment about the meme, and raised an important issue: People have the right to vote, and they should not have that right infringed due to the difficulty of obtaining an ID for voting purposes.
I agree that state IDs should be provided without cost, and they should not be difficult to obtain for legitimate purposes. If the state requires an ID, or any paperwork for that matter, it should be provided without a fee. This includes birth certificates. Life is tough without a birth certificate. I’m not sure why a person wouldn’t have one, but in the event that they don’t, they should be provided one without cost.
My friend offered the idea of creating mobile ID stations. I like that idea. I could offer a short term solution. If a person is detained by the police, they are not going to let that person go until they have positively identified said person. They do it in just minutes. So, there are already hundreds of thousands of mobile mini-ID stations traveling around out there – just add an ID printer and you are good to go. Park a police car in the parking lot of a liquor store or church (and all sorts of other places) and hang a sign up that identifies it as a mobile ID station. Show up and get an ID. They could also do the same thing in very rural areas or for people who are effectively home bound by allowing people to make appointments for the mobile units to come to their homes.
This would help many people and not just for voting. IDs are required for many things. The government requires me to have one to open a bank account. They require me to have one to buy alcohol and I have even been forced to show my ID to police employees to watch movies. I’ve lived in many different places, even though they have all been in the US. I never have a primary care doctor, so every time I go to a doctor or dentist, I have to provide ID and some form of proof of insurance.
I’m not a constitutional scholar. I’m not really happy that I am forced to abide by a document created by people generations ago and with which I am not a voluntary participant – but I must lest I be locked in a cage. There are many inconsistencies in it. Yes, it grants the people the right to vote. But who are the people? If you can’t prove you are one of the people, how can you be allowed to vote? The constitution also grants the right to freedom of speech and to gather peaceably, but in many cases, one must have the permission of the state (permits) to do either. The constitution prohibits the state from endorsing a religion, but every time I go to court, people are swearing an oath to a god. The 4th amendment to the constitution prohibits the state from conducting unreasonable searches and seizures, but in reality the state can detain me at any time and search me without a truly just cause. They can seize me or my property at their discretion or lack thereof. I am granted the right to keep and bear arms without infringement, but only if I have an ID and the required permits, which usually include fingerprinting and other background checks, and I can only keep and bear those arms where the state allows. My right to unrestricted travel among the states is recognized, but my ability to get there is not. The list goes on.
I’m not sure why it is ok for me to have to show an ID to drive a car, but not show an ID when I am picking the people who ultimately decide that I have to show an ID to drive a car, or own a gun, or have a bank account, or own a business. I agree, make it easier to get the ID. But I think that voting is such a serious business that it should require ID. I have to have an ID to own a gun, but people don’t have to have an ID to pick the people that control the force of the combined police forces of the entire country as well as all branches of the military. That just seems a little like hypocrisy. If every vote counts, then each voter is responsible for the use of force by all of those entities. If my ability to use force requires me to have an ID, then surely the ability to use the force of the military should require an ID.
I must issue this caveat: I will not be voting. I choose not to participate in the system. I don’t feel it is right for me to force my views upon others through the threat of force. I’m more of a voluntary participation sort of person. The older I get, the more voluntary participation is important to me.
That’s what two cups of coffee gets you, a long winded rant that will change nothing. But all is not in vain – I turned it into a blog post. We all know that will change the world 🙂
Now, vote early, and vote often!