Protecting my opinion, my assets and my vote

The polls will be closed everywhere in a couple of hours.  Now the waiting begins and for those who really care, the anxiety begins.  They will hold their breath hoping for victory, but fearing a loss.  I am not that emotional, however wins it will be that party to approximately half of the citizens of the country to the other half it will be the right party (no pun intended).  I do care and I do want my candidate of choice to win, I just don’t think it is a life or death issue.  In either case we will survive, are we not a country governed by laws and not by men?  No one man or party is ever completely in control or responsible for anything as complex as the economy or social structure of a country with over 300 million people.  The voter turn-out is significant, for the most part people are exercising their right to express their opinion.  I voted, but in the land of secret ballots I do not have to disclose my choices, nor do I intend to disclose them; I am not embarrassed by my vote, but believe a secret ballot should be kept just that.  We are past the point of debating or arguing the merits of the candidates, the die is cast, but………….

But, there is still one nagging issue for me – voter identification.   When I voted they asked me my name, asked me my middle name and asked me where I lived; that was all.  I was then asked to sign for my touch screen pushing pencil and my voting machine activation card.  As the debate over identification raged I paid very little attention, it seemed to be honest, much ado about nothing.  However, with pencil and card in hand I began to have second thoughts.

We are a society of identification; if I want to drive a car, travel abroad, pay taxes, draw a pension, use a credit card, cash a check, register for schooling or hundreds of other activities, I must be willing to present identification.  It is not a bad idea – I don’t want someone to be able to use my identity to gain access to my assets or express an opinion in my stead at the polls.  I know that when I write a check or make a purchase with a credit card I am glad when they ask for an I.D. card – it means they are protecting me.  Why, I wondered on my way to vote would it not protect me to have to present my I. D. card?   I have one.  Like the majority of people in the modern world,  I have to have one to function.  So why, in what is arguably the most important social act we perform, is there no requirement to prove our identity when we vote?

After my stepfather died and when she was already 70 years old my mother left the secluded world of a housewife and started to enjoy a broader life.  When she started to travel, draw social security and use a checking account and a credit card she had to get an identification card – she had never had one; my mother never drove a car and had not a job outside of her home since she was 18-years old.  It was not on onerous to her, nor was showing the card threatening or intimidating to her.  In fact, she took pride in having an individual identity after years of being “a wife” and was not reluctant to prove it by showing her I. D. card.  I understand the attempt to stop any last minute laws that would exclude certain classes of people from voting.  But isn’t’ four years enough time to require everyone who wishes to vote in the next presidential election go obtain an I. D. card?  This election is over, so I am not suggesting anything that would limit the number of potential democrats or keeping the poor from voting.  I just think it is a reasonable concept in 2012.  Within a week I am going to get on an airplane, renew my car registration and cash a government check – all require proof of identity.  Is voting less important?  I don’t think so and more I want my identity and my vote protected – that can only be done if I am required to prove my identity.


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November 2012
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