Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Voter Suppression In Georgia

This red state of Georgia in which I live has been requiring photo ID to vote for years now.  I'm aware that this practice suppresses the minority and disadvantaged vote, but it hasn't been a major political issue here in the state.

That may change.  I got a postcard in the mail today from the Georgia Department of Driver Services reminding me that my licence is up for renewal this year, and warning me that the DDS is now issuing "Secure ID Driver's Licences and ID Cards."  In order to even drive an automobile in this state, much less have a photo ID to use to vote, I will have to produce either a certified U.S. birth certificate, a valid U.S. passport, or a certificate of naturalization.  No problem, I can do that, but I wonder how many poor people have passports and how many people who live transient lifestyles still have their birth certificate.

In addition, I will also have to provide a Social Security card, a W-2 form, or a paystub showing my full Social Security number.  Again, I can do that, but how many transients still have their Social Security card, and if you don't have a job, good luck with the W-2 and the paystub.

But wait, there's more.  In addition to the above, I also have to prove my residential address by producing not one but two of the following: a utility bill, a bank statement, or employer verification. Obviously, this will be difficult for those without a job, money in the bank, or a utility account in their name.  If you're having a difficult life, chances are good that you won't get to vote in an attempt to improve your lot.

Finally, I will have to list the country club to which I belong, my golf handicap, and a recent scorecard signed by a caddie.  Okay, just kidding, that one's a joke, but it's not that much more absurd than the actual list.  To vote in Georgia, you need a photo ID, and to get the most common photo ID, you pretty much have to have a job, have money in the bank, and manage to have been stable enough in life to hang onto birth certificates and Social Security cards from long ago. 

On a related note, I've heard several Republican friends of mine saying that voting should be restricted only to those who own property.  I don't think they realize that what they're saying is they believe there should be an American landed aristocracy, landowners who get to choose their representatives in government while the rest of the population, those living in large cities, those who can't yet afford their first home, those who are down on their luck, and many others in many other situations in life, have to bend to the will and the laws of the wealthier overlords. 

These conservatives don't want to go back to an earlier America, they want to go back to pre-Magna Carta feudal England.

1 comment:

misslesley said...

H. has an expired US passport and no certificate of naturalization because he was under 18 and got his citizenship through me, as a minor child.It's prohibitively expensive to renew a passport, especially if you have no foreign travel plans and work at Ikea. When he was at Arizona State University, on a National Merit Scholarship I might add, they tried to tell him that a current, up to date, unexpired US passport was no proof of citizenship!!! You know which way he leans politically... this is so wrong.