Even though all of last Tuesday’s attention was focused on New Hampshire’s primary, there was a race going on in my State Senate district in Boston, Massachusetts. Knowing full well that the race was probably one Democrat running unopposed (and I was right), I still went to vote and perform my civic duty. Arriving at the polling station, I walked up to the registration table and gave my name and address. I had my wallet in hand, expecting to show some evidence that I was who I said I was, but after the simple name-giving, I was handed a ballot and sent on my way. This worried me.
But rather than think about what goofy name I was going to write-in, in lieu of wasting a vote on the next union-lackey of a public official (this is Massachusetts after all), I couldn’t stop thinking that there was something awfully wrong about this scenario. Some in my state are fighting to put a Voter ID referendum on the ballot in 2012 , which I intend to support. But even without such a law on the books, voters should still need to show some evidence that they are who they say they are (a utility receipt or a rent receipt would suffice). I could’ve walked in and said I was my 98-year-old grandfather — with whom I share a common address — and they would’ve been none the wiser.
I see nothing wrong with needing to produce official I.D. to vote. You need an I.D. to buy cigarettes, video games, get a passport, and buy a gun; why is it that when you start talking about needing an I.D. to vote, the left instantly goes bonkers? Proponents of Voter I.D. laws are immediately condemned as supporters of voter suppression of minorities, college students, and even accused of reinstating Jim Crow Laws.
Even crazier, they have the nerve to say that voter fraud is not a problem, even after news surfaced that a local official in Mississippi was under investigation for that very thing, as well as the still-discussed ACORN scandals.
Let’s set the record straight, this isn’t an attack on any group of people, it’s a measure to ensure that all those who show up at polling places are able to prove they are residents of that precinct, and in my hometown of Boston, that has been a problem in the past. I.D.’s are easy to come by; it requires one going to their local DMV or City Hall, filling out a few papers, and paying a small fee (and that’s only if they don’t have a Driver’s License or passport, which counts as legal I.D. generally everywhere).
In addition, in states that have voter identification laws similar to those being proposed by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, (which was blocked by the Department of Justice), there is no statistical evidence that suggests a decrease in turnout among minorities.
We are a nation proud of our tradition of fair and open democracy, and fair and open elections. If we are to uphold this tradition, we have to remove fraud and abuse from the system in whichever form it may take. The first step is to institute voter identification laws that prevent institutions like ACORN from rigging the system to their benefit.
Call me crazy, but I don’t think the color of your skin, or how old you are, should be an inhibit the need to show any of these forms of identification, which you should have anyway. It’s not discrimination; it’s just common sense, and it ensures (or at least encourages) voter integrity.
Oh, and I wrote in Doctor Who, by the way.