Tuesday, September 06, 2005


It's about time.

What we're talking about here is this terrible law (passed mostly by white, middle-aged, well-to-do, Republicans) designed to make it more difficult for some folks (mostly minority, elderly, and poor) to exercise their right to vote.

Minority groups have been up in arms about this ever since it passed, and rightfully so. In the past, you could vote by showing something with your name on it; whether it was your driver's license, social security card, even a utility bill. Now, you must show a state-issued ID card (meaning a driver's license) or you'll be turned away.

Of course, lots of people (again, mostly poor, elderly, minority, or all of the above) may not have a drivers license. No problem, say our compassionate conservative state legislators. They can just scamper on down to the local State Patrol office and get a state issued ID card. (They look just like drivers' licenses, except that they say "ID Only") Simple enough, right?

Not exactly. Presumably, if you don't have a drivers license, you probably don't have a car. And, since this blog is focused on Athens politics, we'll point out that right here in Athens, the State Patrol office isn't exactly on the bus line. Heck, it's barely even in Athens-Clarke County.

Ay. There's the rub. You have to have a driver's license or state ID card to vote, but the only way to get the ID card is to drive out into the boonies and get one.

The "compassionate" conservatives who pushed this measure say that it was designed to cut down on voter fraud. We not-so-respectfully disagree. Even if this measure isn't specifically designed to supress turnout among (traditionally Democratic) minority, lower-income, and elderly voters, that's still the net result, and the bill's sponsors should have thought about the end result before they introduced the bill. Or, if their thinking capacities eluded them before introducing it, perhaps the fact that every civil rights leader in the friggin country criticized this bill should have set off an alarm bell or two.

Bottom line, the people (again, mostly Republican) who wrote, introduced, and voted for this law (and lest we forget, the man who signed it), don't appear to give a rat's ass about minorities, poor people, or the elderly.

In a time where the government is losing credibility every day with its constituents, shouldn't we be making it easier for people to vote?

Perhaps next session, the fine folks under the Gold Dome will introduce a poll tax and literacy test. Just to crack down on voter fraud, of course. Of course, the folks who care about that sort thing - well, most of them won't be able to vote the SOBs out anyway.

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1 comment:

Adrian said...

The Dept. of Driver Services is really way too far away. It's inconvenient enough when you can drive there and actually find a parking spot.

I don't know how to cut down on voter fraud. Considering all the fake IDs being made, though, I don't know how requiring a state ID card is going to really help that much.