When I was a reporter, the most exciting day for me was during an election. Municipal, state or national, elections were so exciting. People lined up at the polls, democracy in ACTION, people debating each other on the merits of public policy — OMG.
Jesus, covering election day was like attending a coked-up Super Bowl party at Henry Kissinger’s house where the kids with spray tans and Natty Lites trade finer points gleaned from The Economist with Timothy Geithner and Paul Krugman over a round of beer pong.
Of course, I kid. Voter turnout usually sucks. In a “good” election, like 2008, we had voter turnout of just shy of 57%. And that was the history-making election people cared about. Imagine your local election for city councilor, or state rep or even member of Congress. Your typical polling place most years is a great place to do some reading or study for a final exam.
So when a subject like Voter ID comes up, normal people usually allow their eyes to glaze over until the words about Voter ID stop hitting their eardrums. And rightly so - it sounds reasonable to show ID to vote, like having ID to drive or buy beer if you look young enough to be a Brony.
But if you’re among the 11% of the voting population without a photo identification, Voter ID’s solution for you is the same awesome process that handles licensing for drivers.
Another problem is that the states can’t agree on how you prove your identity without a picture ID.
This leads to a hilariously convoluted and slightly scary mix of requirements among the 30 states that have Voter ID on the books (so far.) So in one state, you may need to recite your birthdate, while in another, the local political party bosses have to agree to vouch for you, which sounds like the plot of an early ’80s episode of “Dukes of Hazzard.”
In some cases, you can cast a provisional ballot, and you can then go before your local town or city council to again prove you are who you say you are.
And depending on what you say to them, you could then be investigated for voter fraud.
So yeah. Democracy FTW!