By Jueseppi B.
It’s an important day for you, and it gives you the rare opportunity to leave your house, where you live alone.
For a number of years, you’ve had an identification card that allows you to vote. But thanks to the state’s strict new voter ID law, that document will no longer be sufficient.
Reports found that 230,000 Tennesseans older than 60 possess driver’s licenses that don’t have photos on them. Such ID will not be accepted at polling places in November. While the state has agreed to issue photo IDs free to anyone who asks, a recent study found that only a tiny percentage of potential targets have applied.
Perhaps that’s because people like you weren’t aware of exactly how the change was going to affect them. Maybe you weren’t even aware of the change. Poll workers tell you that you can cast a provisional ballot on Election Day. You’ll have until “the close of business on the second business day after the election” to find an applicable piece of identification — which you don’t have — and present it to a designated elections official.
Your driver’s license is your primary form of ID, but you rarely carry it anymore. You don’t drive and you haven’t traveled abroad in years, leaving your passport expired or lost. In the months before the election, you changed addresses, and for some reason never received a notification from the state reminding you that your license had expired.
On the day of the election, you head to your polling place, unaware that you’re about to be told your license is expired and therefore invalid according to the state’s new voter ID law (Kansans over the age of 65 can use expired IDs, but you’re not there yet). You’re given a provisional ballot and informed that you must now “provide a valid form of identification to the county election officer in person or provide a copy by mail or electronic means before the meeting of the county board of canvassers.”
While Kansas says it has historically counted around 70 percent of its provisional ballots, this year provides a different landscape. The next steps can be somewhat difficult, and with the enacting of the state’s photo ID law, the use of such ballots will undoubtedly become more commonplace.
Faced with disenfranchisement, you must now race against the clock to have your vote included. With no other acceptable forms of ID available, you go about the process of renewing your license. According to the state, this requires you to make your way to a state office, where you’ll have to provide a number of identifying documents and pay the fee.
By the time you can find someone to chauffeur you through this process — public transportation is complex and unreliable where you live, even if you’re in an urban center — most of the major election results have been announced on the news. You decide the undertaking isn’t worth the time.
As a recent high school graduate who commutes with other workers to your full time job on a farm, you rarely need to present identification, so you didn’t even bother to get a new ID card when it went missing from your locker a few weeks before the election.
You risk potential firing when you travel to your polling place with other members of your community on voting day, but you’re intent on participating in your first election. Without valid photo ID, however, you don’t get to pull the lever. Under Indiana’s new photo ID law, you’re instead required to fill out a provisional ballot.
While many people in this situation may have backup forms of identification,studies have shown that a significant percentage of would-be voters don’t. The state’s safeguard against the immediate disenfranchisement of people in this situation is a provisional ballot cast on the day of the election. But this doesn’t mean your vote counts, yet.
According to Pennsylvania’s new photo ID law, anyone who casts a provisional ballot is required to “appear in person at the county board of elections” within six days of the vote to provide proof that their ballot was valid.
If you’re able to take time away from your job to do this, the process still requires a would-be voter to either show up with valid ID — a replacement driver’s license would cost $36 and considerable time — or to sign an affirmation that you are indigent and not able to afford the fees associated with acquiring a photo ID.
Even if you make a rapid and somewhat expensive turnaround to get a replacement ID — or alternatively swear under oath that you are too poor to pay for such a document — there is no guarantee that your vote will end up counting. Many elections are largely decided before provisional voters have a chance to verify their validity, which could serve to discouraging them from following up with election officials or leave them effectively disenfranchised.
In 2008, only 61.8 percent of all provisional ballots cast were fully counted. With the recent implementation of these strict photo ID measures, however, the number of provisional ballots submitted will likely increase, as will the requirements for voters hoping to make them count.
And she’s not the only one. A number of other plantiffs in the ACLU caseagainst Pennsylvania’s photo ID law claim they have been unsuccessful in attempts to get copies of their birth certificates and other papers due to complexities in the state’s record-keeping. Most claim the measure will take away their vote.
As a registered voter who’s skipped the past few elections, you decide you’ll vote this year. But you spend your life working multiple jobs to provide for your family, not tuned in to a news cycle that may have told you about a voter ID law that changed the requirements.
If you were aware of the measure, you’d know that you have to get yourself to a state office during business hours to procure a photo ID in order to vote. According to the Brennan Center, these facilities are often only open part time, especially in areas with the highest concentration of people of color and in poverty. While the state does offer a free photo ID initiative, the Brennan Center points out that many of the offices provide confusing or inaccurate information about what Georgians need to do to get one.
This may be a tough task as you juggle a strenuous work schedule with other commitments — and that’s assuming you’re aware of the requirement. But you’re not, so you head to your voting precinct on election day with no access to an acceptable form of identification and vote with a provisional ballot. Toverify that ballot, you’ll have two days to present appropriate photo ID at your county registrar’s office, which at this point wouldn’t be doable.
Old friends invite you to a bar to catch up, but in the process of removing your driver’s license from your wallet to present to a bouncer, it cracks in half, leaving it officially invalidated.
Without a valid license, you won’t be able to cast a ballot the next day. You’d renew it and choke down the $20 or more fee for the replacement, but the documents you need to present are in the moving truck.
An election official informs you that you can fill out a provision ballot on Election Day. To verify that ballot, you’ll have two days afterward to present appropriate photo ID at your county registrar’s office.
Either you’re telling the moving company to drive twice the speed limit for the next 48 hours straight, or you’re accepting your disenfranchisement.
Obama Warns Young Supporters About Republican Voter Suppression
AP | Posted: 09/02/2012 BY BEN FELLER, ASSOCIATED PRESS
Nothing illegal. More like suppression by depression.
Tucked into his campaign speeches, Obama regularly asserts that the Republican presidential nominee and the outside political machinery supporting him want to get voters so down and disillusioned that they will decide their votes don’t matter.
The message is not so much that such apathy would be bad for democracy, but that it would be bad for Obama. The president’s advantage among young voters will be eroded if they get so turned off by it all that they have no compelling reason to vote.
“But understand, over the next two months, the other side is going to spend more money than we’ve ever seen in our lives with an avalanche of attacks ads and insults, and making stuff up, just making stuff up,” Obama told roughly 13,000 students packed into a quad at the University of Colorado on Sunday.
“And what they’re counting on is that you get so discouraged by this that at a certain point you say, `You know what, I’m going to leave it up to someone else.’ … I’m counting on something different. I’m counting on you.”
Left unsaid by the president are the negatives ads run by his campaign under his direct approval.
The support of young voters proved vital to Obama last time, and the Democratic incumbent still needs them. In an Associated Press-GfK poll released recently, 54 percent of registered voters under 35 said they would vote for Obama, compared to 38 percent for Romney. Older voters split about evenly.
For the 2012 version of candidate Obama, the line of criticism is a way to keep hope alive.
Weighed down by a struggling economy, devoid of the fresh change message and historical nature of his last campaign, Obama needs to inspire faith among young adults through not just his policy ideas on education and job opportunities, but with a sharp suggestion that the GOP ticket is aiming to keep them down.
The Obama campaign has gone negative, too, targeting Romney’s transparency about his wealth and taxes and raising questions about his honesty. Romney, in response, has gone so far as to tell Obama to take his “campaign of division and anger” back to his hometown of Chicago.
Both campaigns and outside political groups have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on negative ads.
In the states that will determine the election, Obama keeps devoting time to college campuses, as he did Sunday before an outdoor crowd of thousands at the University of Colorado. When he ran in 2008, voter turnout among those 18 to 24 was at its highest level since 1972. No other age group had such an increase.
That is why, with two months to go, Obama at times sounds more like a registrar of voters than commander in chief.
Imploring college students and 20-something adults to back him again, Obama steers them to special campaign websites that will help them register and cast their votes. He even spells out their web addresses for them, letter by letter. When they jeered Romney, Obama said: “Don’t boo. Vote.”
A Romney spokesman, Ryan Williams, said Obama‘s charge of trying to make voters disillusioned reflect the same “dirty political tactics” Obama once criticized. Williams said: “Voters will be motivated in November to go to the polls and replace President Obama with a fiscally responsible leader like Mitt Romney.”
Romney has also tried to tap into voter discontent, making the pitch to Obama backers that it is OK to be disappointed with him even if they like him.
In 2008, Obama won two-thirds of the vote among college-age adults 18-24 and 18-29 years old, compared with just 32 percent for Republican Sen. John McCain, according to exit polls. Obama’s win was dependent on a huge margin among young people, bigger than any candidate has had in modern exit polling.
Associated Press writer Beth Fouhy in Charlotte, N.C., contributed to this report.
If we ever needed to vote & vote DEMOCRATIC, we sure do need to vote DEMOCRATIC now. For us (Black America) the right to vote is not just a Constitutional matter but a right borne out of struggle, out of sacrifice and in some cases out of death. Think for a moment where we are in time and you will understand why: ”If we never ever needed to vote DEMOCRATIC, we sure do need to vote DEMOCRATIC NOW!!”
Lyin Paul Ryan & Lyin UnFitt Mitt
Just Say NO To Lies In “NO”vember!
Just “BARACK” The Vote