Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Voter Photo ID - Yes, It Is a Poll Tax

This video is painful to watch.  A United States Marine,  a veteran,  arrives at his small Tennessee polling place on Super Tuesday, prepared to vote, but not prepared to produce a photo ID.  He has brought his state issued voter card and he wants to vote as he has done every election for nearly forty years.

He confronts the unassuming bureaucrats, telling them that, while he does possess photo ID, he is refusing to present it.  He is refusing to present a photo ID on principle - and that principle is that a law requiring a photo ID from citizens before permitting them to exercise their right to vote is a bad law.  It is the same thing as charging a fee. He is protesting on behalf of his fellow citizens who may be prevented from voting because of this law.

The Marine has brought a camera person with him to record his protest.  He insists that the bureaucrat to whom he is registering his protest tell him to his face - and on camera - that he, a US Marine who has served his country honorably, will not be permitted to vote unless he produces a valid photo ID.  The bureaucrat finally does so, and the Marine, barely keeping his composure,  leaves.

The Tennessee Legislature passed a new law requiring voters to present a state-approved voter ID.  While the state promised on its website to provide eligible voters with valid photo ID free of charge,  there are several impediments to access for many eligible citizens.

Poor people and people who do not have birth certificates face taxing hurdles to obtaining this state ID. Many poor people cannot afford to pay for a birth certificate (which the "free" ID requires), and a significant number of others have never had a birth certificate for various reasons usually related to extreme poverty and other social deprivations.  Some of the people who are disenfranchised by these laws are veterans who have fought for this country.

This video is not pretty.  It is not slick nor is it scripted and smoothly delivered.  This is an extraordinary citizen who is fighting for his country.  He fought for his country as a Marine and now he is fighting for justice at home.

Sir,  I salute you.

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