Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Voter ID Ruse

I tend to not use this space to focus upon the political but recently the Pennsylvania legislature found its way into the voter fraud ruse, enacting a law whose stated purpose is combatting voter fraud which is actually statistically not a threat in our state. Aside from the crass comments made about how this law will throw the state in favor of Republicans in this election cycle, the more practical consideration is how to respond to the self-assured statement that "anyone who is legitimate will have no trouble obtaining ID or already has it." This is patently false.
The case in point is my own recently turned 18 daughter. She is the child with the September 11th birthday. She was born in and only lived in one town in one county in Pennsylvania. She is the biological child of two United States citizens and has only ever had one birth certificate, the one that came in the mail a couple weeks after she was born. She has obtained a US Passport and has traveled abroad with People to People Student Ambassadors. She is an honors scholar at a church related university. She has only ever worked at a church camp where she has not been issued an ID because you do not need one. She was away working at said church camp this past summer when her passport expired a couple weeks before she was to leave to for college.
When she came home and before she was heading off to college she went to obtain a non-driver photo ID in Pennsylvania, the one that would allow her to register to vote.
She was rejected.
Even though under Pennsylvania law a PA ID that is expired is good for a year, a passort that is a couple weeks beyond expiration is invalid.
A high school ID is invalid
And best of all and most important the state issued birth certificate was deemed invalid.
The state issued it in the condition in which it has lovingly been maintained in a lock box and it is invalid.
Because although it has a raised seal, it is not "raised" enough.
You can turn it over and see the embossed imprint but it was declared invalid.
She was told she could drive to a main center some distance away and wait for hours but it "would be a waste of time."
She was told she should just apply for a new passport and for a new birth certificate
and then after that she could return
But by then:
She would have spent the money on a passport, plus the appointment to process it since the last was issued to her as a minor
And she would have to wait for the new birth certificate
And it would be...
too late
Later in the news it was announced that a special voting only ID would be issued for people like her with "faulty" birth certificates
Faulty because of what?
But then came the caveat
You can only obtain this ID IF
if you can obtain other ID, no matter the cost, and time and waiting and lost hours of your life
You cannot qualify

Help us understand how it is that a lifelong, wage earning native born American who possesses identification given by the government is denied use of it?
How can a state issued ID card be valid when a federal ID becomes instantaneously obsolete?
So she cannot vote in PA
I cannot even begin to imagine how frustrating it is for her

And for every person who does not drive, has no employer ID
Who has limited funds or limited mobility?
I know how frustrating it is for me

No one should ever feel like life becomes about doors closing in your face for no reason

There is one thing I can guarantee
The party who thought this was a great way to keep "illegals" from voting has guaranteed a couple things-
she will never vote for your party
she will likely decide to work and use her talents in another state adding to the Brain Drain
she may well go to law school just to advocate for people who are disenfranchised
And if she does
I suspect she will not be nice about it


  1. I would like to share this, because you have simply told your daughter's story.

  2. Share wide and far- this is a ridiculous travesty of justice and should not be tolerated anywhere.We raised a responsible citizen who has been marginalized. It should not be so for anyone!

  3. I thought it was bad enough that we won't be able to vote because we are moving to another state after their registration deadline. This is much worse. She certainly has the mindset and drive to speak for those who can't. If she does, she will do it well!

  4. I'm in a similar situation. I need to obtain a WV DL which requires birth certificate, proof of residency (not so easy since my housing and utilities are paid there are no utility bills with my name on it), proof of name changes which for me means marriage certificate from first marriage and the divorce papers (who knows where they are in the storage unit?), plus my current marriage certificate (again somewhere in the storage unit). It will take six to 12 weeks to obtain theses documents from WV and CA, long past the registration deadline. In the past all I've needed to get a new license is the previous license from whatever state I moved from. Thanks to the new laws I can't get a driver's license until I get all these items (which will cost anywhere from $50 on up per item). I am not a happy camper.

  5. Personally, I feel everyone should have a federally issued ID (ie. passport)In Europe it is a way of questions. We as Americans come and go across state lines and until recently into Canada. Sadly today it's become much too easy to produce fake documents. My mother-in-law was 85 yrs old when we acquired a passport for her to accompany us on a cruise. She never had a driver's license; there was no such thing as a raised seal on her birth certificate; my husband stood along side my mother in law and swore an oath that this was the woman her birth certificate said she was ...we got a passport. I misplaced my son's birth certificate. I went up to Scranton, Pa. and for a $20 fee and maybe 2 hr wait, I had a copy of his birth certificate....Shame on me for misplacing something as important as a birth certificate but then the same is true for keeping marriage license, divorce papers, baptismal certificates, etc. close at hand and not stored in a storage shed!!! Hello!!! Sadly we have taken the rights and priveliges of citizenship to the extreme. We have to be responsible and pay attention to expiration dates and ask questions. Sadly we are quick to accept the word of a DMV employee as gospel!