Why Voting Restrictions Matter

By | October 10, 2014

This is for you who keep telling me that there is no difficulty in getting registered because “everyone has ID” and “everyone can get easily register.” You are talking nonsense when you say that. You should educate yourself.

Here’s an example of what the Wisconsin Voter ID restrictions meant in real life. Thank God these restrictions were struck down by the Supreme Court. But tell me, what is accomplished by restricting voting in this way, other than making sure that a large part of the undesirable population can’t vote?

From a friend in Wisconsin:

[Bob] got his WI license after the voter ID law passed (and by the by, DMV hours were cut AT THE SAME TIME as the new voter ID laws were being put in place). So now the DMV hours are 8:30-4:45 M-F, but you can’t get a new DL after 4 pm. So 8:30-4, effectively. Obviously lines are a lot longer because the hours have been dramatically reduced. [Bob] had to go 3 times before he got his DL. Because his birth certificate isn’t good enough for the Wisconsin DMV. The one he’s used to for every job. The one he’s used to get a US passport. The one he used to get federal security clearance. The one that is a pretty standard issue MN birth certificate from the 1980s. That’s not good enough for a Wisconsin drivers license and so not good enough to vote in WI. And he’s a well-educated white dude with involved parents who could confirm that his birth certificate is the only one he’s ever had and not some weird novelty birth certificate. And he has a flexible job. And he’s great at advocating for himself. But it still took him around 12 hours to get all of it straightened out. So even if I were to accept the rhetoric of voter ID requirements, I’m awfully suspicious of the goals of a system that simultaneously starts requiring an ID to vote AND makes getting that ID difficult.

Tell me, what would you do if you worked an ordinary 8-5 job and you tried to register to vote? Or you worked a job that kept you from getting to the DMV three times in order to get registered?

You take it for granted that you’re registered to vote, and that you will never be deprived of your vote, because you, of course, are favored.

But there are millions of people out there who aren’t like you, who don’t look like you, and don’t have the power that you do, who are otherwise ordinary American citizens who are being stripped of their civil rights by the actions of mean-spirited legislators, nearly 100% white Republican men.

Why is that? Why are Republicans doing this, over and over and over? They do it because it keeps them in power, but it keeps them in power because you don’t protest, and you keep voting for them.

If you’re not going to do anything with your own voice, if you’re not going to protest this loss of liberty of your fellow American citizens, if you’re going to hide behid legalisms and prevarications and passive-aggressive beliefs, at least have the integrity to stop rewarding these people with your votes. Stop supporting these people who are stripping Americans of their rights.

It doesn’t matter to me whether you consider yourself a liberal or conservative, a progressive or a libertarian–when you reward this behavior by voting for these people, you are participating in the loss of liberty of your fellow American citizens.