Freedom Papers And Other Acceptable Forms of ID

I’ll admit it.  I’m easy to confuse.  I frequently forget where I’m going as soon as I’m en route and once I had to calculate my age on my own fingers. So, when I say I’m confused by the hullabaloo surrounding voter ID requirements, please take it with a grain of salt.

Back in the day, the old folks (i.e. my dad) used to say, “If you stay ready, you ain’t got ta git ready!”  That sentence always sits in the back of my mind.  Perhaps that’s why, for the life of me, I can’t figure out why in the hell there are grown ass people who will not be able to cast a regular ballot this year because they don’t have ID.

Now, I won’t even bother to ask why grown people don’t have ID just for G.P.  But I will ask…When did you learn that there would be an election in November of 2012?  Yesterday?  Last week?  Last month?  Cuz your man Obama has been talking about this election since the day after his first inauguration…so I suspect you knew it was coming.  May I ask why your ass didn’t get ready…and then stay ready?

Listen, I get it.  It’s the timing.  Let’s pretend for a moment that voter ID legislation has not been a constant visitor to the state legislative floors consistently for THE LAST TEN YEARS.  In that case, someone pushing to pass a law riiiiiiiiiight NOW would certainly impact those folks who are not ready today.  And that may indeed be unfair.  But let’s take a look at who actually would be impacted, shall we?

First, 20 states and the District of Columbia require no ID at all.  Just show your ass up at the voting location and do the do.  Now, that sounds dangerous to me but I’m all about states’ rights.  They like it, I love it.

Of the remaining 30 states, most allow registered voters with no ID to cast provisional ballots, sign affadavits or oaths in lieu of ID, provide ID at another time or have their identification verified by appropriate officials.  I say “most” although I couldn’t find one circumstance where the voter was just ass out.  But I don’t know everything, I just talk like I do.

Finally, the qualifications for acceptable identification are so broad in some instances they are almost meaningless – utility bills, a note from your mama, student ID, a paycheck, gang tattoos.

So, let’s say in spite of all this concession, there are people who STILL can’t vote.  Please let both of them know that they have four years to rectify this situation so that they can vote next time.  One or two years if they are civic minded and would like to cast municipal votes as well.

Ok…now that I got that off my chest…can I just say we have a bigger problem?

What we really need to be focused on is low voter turnout.  There are 20 states and the District of Columbia that require no ID at all and voter turnout is still low in those states amongst the demographic in question.

I know, I know…it’s easier to fight the battle against “the man” and not the “brotha man” but if you really want to ensure Republicans don’t drive numbers at the polls, then get all eligible voters registered and out to the polls on Election Day.  The democratic process can be lovely when we all participate.

Let’s take some responsibility for our own shit.  The facts don’t support the premise that Republicans are keeping us out of the voting booth in any meaningful numbers.  What the facts support is that when folk get disenfranchised or disenchanted, we are less willing to make the effort to get out  and vote, despite all the shit we say on Facebook.  That’s the bigger concern.

For black folk – that’s just shameful given what our people have been through to even have that right in the first place.

Source:  National Conference of State Legislatures (www.ncsl.org)

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