I recently had the opportunity to travel to the great state of Texas where—incidentally—I had the pleasure of meeting a few fellow Blaze patriots who showed me what I’m missing way up here in Minnesota. . . but I’ve digressed.
In order to avoid the rather long (946 miles, to be precise) drive, I hopped on a plane.
Like everyone else in line at security, I was subjected to removing virtually everything but the clothes on my back (not to worry—Minneapolis is home to a few full body scanners that take care of that) in order to make my way through the process.
Before being granted the pleasure of having all privacy verily stripped away, however, we all had to present something. Rich, poor, Latino, White, Black, Asian, Indian, Christian, Jew, Muslim et al . . . we all had to hand something over to the TSA along with our boarding pass.
In this Sept. 26, 2012 file photo People pass the signs telling of the requirement for voters to show an acceptable photo ID to vote as they head into the the Penndot Drivers License Center in Butler, Pa. Credit: AP
They’re small, usually made of plastic, sometimes paper and are home to crummy pictures that most of us choose to believe don’t remotely resemble what we really look like.
They're called “photo IDs.”
These photo IDs are essential to ensuring that the person holding the boarding pass really IS who he/she says they are.
It’s simple and relatively painless (especially when compared to the rest of the security process) to hand the officer this ID.
This little piece of plastic is also required to open a bank account, to attend college, to use a credit or debit card, to operate a vehicle . . . even serving one’s country comes along with a military-issued ID.
Photo ID also works well in keeping elections clean, by matching one vote with one photo ID.
Our administration also seems to think so, too.
Afghan residents queue along a street as they wait to register for the upcoming presidential elections on January 23, 2014 in Ghazni. Afghans were required to have a photo ID in order to vote. (AFP/Getty Images/Rahmatullah Alizada)
Such was apparently not the case in this past week’s pro-Russia referendum in Ukraine, and the U.S. State Department was not having any of it. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki noted that they will not recognize the results of this “suspect” process [emphasis added]:
"We do not recognize the illegal referendum that took place in portions of Donetsk and Luhansk over the weekend. It was illegal under Ukrainian law and an attempt to create further division and disorder in the country. Its methodology was also highly suspect, with reports of carousel voting, pre-marked ballots, children voting, voting for people who were absent, and even voting in Moscow and St. Petersburg."
How does one prevent such shenanigans if not through photo ID, to match each vote with one person?
The administration has a history of supporting verification of the votes cast in foreign elections. In 2013 the administration voiced its support of reforms in Kenya that included specific targets to end corruption in the voting process in part by ensuring that all Kenyans had access to and could present proper identification when voting. Amongst the administration’s praise for the program:
“We commend the progress they have made to broaden political participation and improve governance, and will remain a steady partner as they continue to work to strengthen electoral processes.”
“In advance of Kenya’s March 2013 general elections, Yes Youth Can’s ‘My ID My Life’ campaign helped 500,000 youth obtain National identification cards, a prerequisite to voter registration . . .”
The message is pretty clear—accurate voting is key to an election free from corruption, and the ONLY way to do it is to make sure that each person is who they say they are . . . and that they’re only casting exactly ONE vote.
It’s really a great idea, and it’s wonderful that the administration agrees.
How ironic then, that these past few years the administration has occupied its time with various sundry activities, including but not limited to:
-Suing the state of North Carolina over its voter ID law
-Suing the state of Texas over its voter ID law
-Blocking a voter ID law in South Carolina
-Suing the state of Florida for purging its voter rolls of non-citizens
Attorney General Eric Holder has further noted that:
“There really is no statistical indication that in person vote fraud has to be cured by the introduction of voter photo ID.”
Funny how—per the administration’s own admission— voter ID can curtail corruption in Ukraine and Kenya.
In theUnited States, however, voter ID is, by their definition, fraught with racist and bigoted overtones, and “voter fraud” is nothing but a figment of one’s imagination:
“The stark and simple truth is this — the right to vote is threatened today — in a way that it has not been since the Voting Rights Act became law nearly five decades ago . . . So let’s be clear — the real voter fraud is people who try to deny our rights by making bogus arguments about voter fraud.”
That’s our president. Verifying the validity of votes and in turn protecting the integrity of each person’s individual ballot “strengthens electoral processes” everywhere but here.
The claim is often that minorities, impoverished Americans and the elderly can’t afford a photo ID, and thus this is discriminatory.
So, they’re telling us they can’t do better than Kenya, a decidedly third world nation with a national GDP that is scarcely a line item on our federal budget? That is to say, our federal government can spend billions on ridiculousness including but not limited to: a $297 million dollar failed blimp project (did we not learn from the Hindenburg?); a $295 million dollar tax credit to Facebook; a $1 million bus stop in Virginia . . . and somehow facilitating IDs to those who need them is impossible?
The reality is that this is already a moot point, since “every state that has implemented a voter-ID law has also made free IDs available to voters who don’t have them.”
In the meantime, our president and his administration will keep applauding voter ID and other electoral protections across the globe, and continue to demonize the very same efforts at home.
It begs the question: why?
The president either doesn’t believe we have a corruption problem at home (we’re all too familiar with it in my state) . . . or he and other voter ID opponents would like a shot at benefitting from it.
After all, to what else do we owe such blatant hypocrisy?
Mary Ramirez is a full time writer, and creator of www.afuturefree.com--a political commentary blog. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org; or on Twitter: @AFutureFree
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