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Identifying Voters

October 2, 2012 - Joselyn King
Anybody out there remember the line in the Breakfast Club in which the teenage Anthony Michael Hall character admits to having a fake ID -- just so he could vote?

I do admire his youthful enthusiasm for the electoral process, but it leads me to ask a simple question: Is is such a wrong thing to ask a voter for their identification before they cast a ballot?

Shouldn't it be incumbent upon the government administering the election to assure the voter is in fact who they say they are, that they are eligible to vote and live in the community at hand?

A Pennsylvania court this week delayed that state's new law requiring voters show identification ID requirement from taking effect this election. The judge involved said he wasn't sure the state had made it possible for voters to easily get IDs before Nov. 6.

Certainly, the government needs to make identification cards available to potential voters.

But I also hope the judge's ruling doesn't mean government workers are physically going to have to go to the homes of every person without a car or driver's license just to see if they need and identification for the purposes of voting. (Maybe I shouldn't say that. It could give some lawmaker an idea.)

The very validity of our voting system is what keeps democracy alive. It also requires the active participation of those involved and living and contributing to their communities.

Unfortunately, voting is a responsibility of which not every American takes advantage.

Likewise, paying taxes, filing income tax returns and applying for identification are responsibilities we all should do. It's called being an adult.

While West Virginia requires no identification at the polls, Ohio does. Acceptable forms of identification accepted by Ohio pollworkers include drivers licenses, military identification, utility bills with the voter's name and current address, or a paycheck or a government check made out in the voter's name.

If someone is living off the grid of society so far they have none of these items, do we really want them voting in an election?

If someone isn't motivated enough to make the effort to register to vote -- much less get the necessary ID if they don't have a driver's license -- again, do we really want them voting?


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