Of all the people to have an issue because of Voter ID, I never in a million years would have expected it to be me. I’ve been to a ton of meetings; a bunch of phone conferences; blogged all about the requirements, and then I go to my poll today only to learn that my ID will not allow me to vote in November as it is. And I’m sure there will be many other people just like myself.

At my polling place, the poll workers were almost sheepishly telling people about the need for a photo ID in the fall. “If you didn’t know..”. the woman said, “a Photo ID will be required for the Fall election.” I mean this is the same woman who has asked for my name and looked me up in the book for the 16 years I’ve been living here. I didn’t press her, because I was confused about what poll workers had been told to do, and from everything I have read, there have been different things posted, displayed, or explained all across the state.  But fortunately, I chose to pull out my ID, only to find that it won’t be allowed for voting.

You read that correctly. I have a Pennsylvania issued valid drivers license that will not meet the ID guidelines.

Here’s why. Two years ago, my partner and I bought a new house just a few blocks from our previous home. When I reported the change of address to the DMV, I was sent a paper card that I have folded and carry with my driver’s license. Because it was issued by the state DMV, I had assumed it would suffice. But that isn’t the case. This DMV issued card and valid driver’s license will not be accepted. My only recourse, if I want to vote in the November election will be to go and get a new driver’s license so that the valid DL and the correct address are all on one state issued card.

The Voter ID Bill was all about suppressing the vote!

As nice as the sound bites are describing Voter ID as protecting legal voters,  the reality was that it has always been about making it harder for people to vote, and by creating hurdles, keep them from the polls. I am a legal voter! The Voter ID bill is doing nothing to protect my right to vote! My partner was told that he could use his passport, but why is that? A passport has an expiration date on it but no address at all. Yet, my valid driver’s license won’t suffice? This bill in no way creates protection. Rather it creates hurdles, road blocks, and confusion.

The Voter ID Bill is a Poll Tax which is unconstitutional!

OK, that statement is yet to be fully proved in my case, but do you think that I am going to go to the DMV to get a new Driver’s License, and get it for free? Others have already documented the reluctance of the DMV to give out free photo non-driver license ID’s. If I get charged for a new ID, then it will clearly be a poll tax because the state is making me pay to have the right to vote. Stay tuned to the blog, and I’ll post about my experiences at the DMV trying to get an ID that will allow me to vote.

Failed “soft rollout” of the Voter ID!

At my polling place, the poll workers were mentioning the need for an ID, but I saw no signage or information. If I had not pulled out my ID, I would not know that it will not be accepted in November. How many other folks, heard the comment about the need for an ID, but it went in one ear and out the other? At other polling places there were signs, sometimes misleading. In other words, there was no uniformity across the state as to how poll workers were to institute a soft rollout of the Voter ID requirement. Please don’t read this as if I am criticizing the poll workers, for that is not my intention. The poll workers are managed by the county bards of election, so the real issue here was a lack of thorough information or instruction from the State to the Counties and then then no accountability to make sure that a uniform process happened.

If I look at what is published about the requirements, there is nothing to suggest that my current Driver’s License will not be acceptable. I only think that because of what the poll workers said to me. Were they perhaps wrong? Are they adequately trained or are mistakes happening that will keep people from voting? My partner had a different experience. He is currently without his driver’s license, and so he took his passport with him to the polling place. He was given very specific instructions that the ID had to be valid and could not be expired; it must include a picture; and it had to have a current address. The only part of that which is true is the part about requiring a photo. A Driver’s License may be expired but it can not be more than 1 year expired. My partner confronted the poll worked about the address required, by showing his passport which doesn’t have an address on it, and she acted surprised.

Image: Some rights reserved by DonkeyHotey

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