If you’ve ever had to find your birth certificate or Social Security card for whatever reason, you know how hard and frustrating it can be. That safe secure place, where you would never forget, is now forgotten. I eventually had to go downtown and pay for a copy of the entire families birth certificates. For Republicans, this doesn’t happen, and too bad for you if it did. Oh, and I couldn’t find those new birth certificates I supposedly put in a great easy to remember place. Check this story out:
WSJ: The idea was to be the guinea pig in the Wisconsin Republican Party's 2011 Voter Suppression Experiment: Assume the bill requiring voters to flash a photo ID had become law and see how hard it would be to get one. Problem is, demographically at least, I'm a Republican.
After pulling my certified birth certificate and Social Security card from the safe and grabbing a utility bill from the family financial files, I drove over to the DMV. The wait? Only about 10 minutes. The kicker? State law doesn't allow me get a Wisconsin ID because I already have a current Wisconsin driver's license. I'm already good to go under the Republicans' bill!
Of course, the bill isn't aimed at disenfranchising demographically Republican voters like me. It's aimed at voters like 22-year-old Andrew Flowers, a UW-Madison senior from Denver, Colo. But under the bill, Flowers would almost certainly need a Wisconsin photo ID, something that itself would require his certified birth certificate and Social Security card and a trip to the DMV.
Would Flowers be likely to go through all that just to vote? "If I had to go wait in the DMV line, no," he said.
Ergo, disenfranchisement. And it would apply to anyone who is similarly young, transient and more likely to be a Democrat —whether they are out-of-state UW students or the down and out … Steve Schooler, executive director at Porchlight… "because in order to get an ID, you need a birth certificate and these are not cheap anymore, particularly from states like California."
You can reasonably argue that the barriers to voting under the bill aren't very high. But then Constitutional rights apply even if you aren't so organized as to keep a certified copy of your birth certificate lying around, or you go to college out of state, or you don't have a permanent home. We don't apply such litmus tests to the right to free speech or the right to trial by one's peers, so why apply it (as a practical matter) to voting?
In short, why are my demographic brethren so keen on messing with the Constitution?
UPDATE-Jan. 26, 2011: jsonline: The state's chief election officer recommended key changes Wednesday to a bill that would require voters to show photo ID at the polls, including allowing student IDs and passports to be used for voting.
Under the bill quickly moving through the Legislature, only three types of IDs would be allowed to get a ballot: a Wisconsin driver's license, a Wisconsin ID issued by the Department of Transportation and a military ID.
Kevin Kennedy, director of the state Government Accountability Board, told the Senate Transportation and Elections Committee that lawmakers should add to that list other government-issued IDs, passports and student IDs issued by accredited schools.
IDs issued by University of Wisconsin schools are "as secure if not more secure than the ones issued by DOT," said Kennedy, whose board runs state elections.
The bill would give Wisconsin the strictest photo ID requirement in the country, said David Canon, a UW-Madison political scientist. Other states allow other types of government-issued IDs to vote, and Canon and other university officials asked lawmakers to include student IDs among acceptable forms of ID.