I was at a polling place to vote in a local election recently; I was sure to bring all the ID I would need to prove who I was to avoid any confusion. When I was next in line, I stepped up to the table, atop which sat a thick three-ring binder with a long list of local residents. Even though I was looking at the list upside down, the names were all in large print, with a check mark and a signature next to them if that person had already voted.
The poll attendant smiled at me.
“What’s your name?” She asked.
“Cole Ellenbogen,” I replied.
The woman thumbed through a few pages of the booklet, muttering “E, e,” as her index finger quickly passed over each name on the page. “Ah, there you are. Just sign here.”
I looked at her, startled: “That’s all? You don’t need to see my license, or-”
“No,” she shook her head, smiling again, “no need.” She turned the binder around on the table, and tapped my name with a ballpoint pen, which she then handed to me. I scribbled my signature, voted, and left.
My mind was absolutely blown. I voted in an election and showed less ID than I have to when I buy a lottery ticket. All you have to do to commit voter fraud is be able to read upside down, and pick a name off the list without a signature.
We need photo IDs to vote. The Federal Election Commission recommended it years ago, but the push to require identification is shot down time and time again by opponents who claim that requiring photo IDs is an attempt to stop minorities from voting. Is it really racist to require an ID?
Let’s take a look at the list of other things that you need an ID for that aren’t racist:
Board a plane, buy alcohol, buy cigarettes, enter a casino, play the lottery, open a bank account, apply for and receive welfare, apply for and receive food stamps, file for and receive unemployment, buy an M-rated video game, see an R-rated movie, buy a cellphone, sign for a cell phone contract, donate blood, buy certain types of cold medicine, pick up a prescription, buy a gun, apply for a hunting license, apply for a fishing license, to drive or buy or rent a car, get married, check into a hotel, adopt a pet, apply for a job, or get a permit to gather and hold a protest.
What’s different about having an ID for voting?
I’ll leave you with that. Now in the words of Nelson Mandela:
-By Cole Ellenbogen