Amanda Terkel reports:
Dallas Morning News columnist Wayne Slater attempted to vote over the weekend using his utility bill, which is considered an acceptable form of ID. The poll worker, however, demanded that he show her his driver's license.Eventually, because Slater was a pushy reporter, Peggy's supervisor overruled her and he got to cast his ballot.
"We prefer a voter-registration card or a driver’s license," said Peggy, the poll worker. "There’s a list of identifications starting with registration card, driver’s license, picture ID—we prefer to go in that order.”
But there were no outside election observers when he voted. As Slater wrote of the incident:
What if an elderly person or a citizen with English as a second language had done the same thing? Would they have been turned away? Would they have been intimidated and left?How many Pennsylvanians—confused by the array of ads and billboards STILL stating incorrectly that the commonwealth requires a photo ID even though the courts have ruled that it doesn't—will decide not even to try to vote because they lack the identification they think they need?
No supervisor, no election observer, no on-the-ball poll worker fully apprised of the current status of the law will be able to help in such cases.
That's what voter suppression is all about. Whether it's intimidating billboards in Ohio and Wisconsin, ridiculously restrictive photo-ID requirements, discriminatory purges of voter rolls or limiting early-voting hours in minority-rich and low-income areas, the war on voting is designed to produce an outcome favorable to the right-wingers who have passed these laws over Democratic objections in state after state. The more people who don't go to the polls, the bigger smiles it puts on the faces of these unAmerican suppressors.
Fortunately, citizen advocates in and out of government have been fighting these laws everywhere. Consequently, hundreds of thousands of people who might not have voted will be able to do so. But we'll never know after Nov. 6 how many stayed away because the campaign to keep them at home worked.
The fight to stop this war on the most elemental right of democracy will apparently never end because some people, including public officials whose duty ought to be to ensure everybody's right to vote, are determined to squelch it for partisan advantage. In a just world, they would do prison time for their actions.