Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

Maybe in time for the next election. . .

Voter ID, Wisconsin, Jennifer Lopez, Death of Bin Laden

My younger daughter does not have a driver's license. Why is the subject of various family legends. But if you asked me, I'd say it was because the kids split the cost of driver's education with me, and it wasn't a high enough priority for Liz. She's careful with her money.

But that's another story. A week before her 21st birthday and in preparation for the time-honored Wisconsin rite of passage, the first legal drink, she decided to get a bona fide Wisconsin ID card. And there the tale begins.

The first battle for a nondriver who lives on a college campus is getting to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Those of us who've been driving forever have sampled the locations and know which ones to avoid. But the vehicle-less aren't choosers in this world. A nondriver is stuck with the site closest to the bus line--in my daughter's case, the last one most of us would choose if we had to renew our licenses or take a test.

Accordingly, Liz waited a long time in a less than pleasant environment to show the clerk the identification she had brought: birth certificate, student ID, passport, and checkbook with her address.

Seems more than adequate? Does to me. But there's a Catch 22. In order to get an official state ID, some of the staff believe you need to have an official state ID. After a long debate, a supervisor finally agreed to accept her identification verification.

In 10 days or so, she might get the ID. Barring any further glitches. Not in time for the birthday--maybe in time for the next election.

Right now, there's a bill in the state legislature to require photo IDs for voting. Those who oppose it agree with Rep. Kelda Roys of Madison, who says that voter fraud is rare and that the bill "disenfranchises the poor, elderly, minorities, and students."

Liz's experience refutes the claims that it's no bother to get an ID. In fact, it's a significant undertaking.

As far as I know, the Constitution assures Liz the right to vote. It does not say she has the right to vote--as long as she has a driver's license.  Contrary to the claims of people like supporter Alberta Darling, this law effectively puts a damper on those would-be voters.

Meanwhile, I'll hope that if Liz decided to celebrate her birthday the way many do, with a drink in a bar with friends, she found one that accepted her passport and birth certificate.

It would have been a lot easier to get a fake ID. Perhaps the enterprising will begin selling them to the other disenfranchisees. I can't say I'd blame them for trying. But I do blame the legislators who pretend that this bill is not designed to keep people from voting legitimately. That will certainly be its effect.

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