Voter ID and Me
I’m not clear on why I have to prove who I am in order to vote at St. James school, where I’ve shown up at the same gym and bake sale (have to say the brownies are a long way from the homemade ones of the ’80’s ) for over 25 years now. Given the number of losing candidates I’ve backed in this time, I’m a little surprised my picture isn’t on the wall of fame downstairs–then I wouldn’t need an ID. The other day Daniele Watts, the actress from Django Unchained, was stopped by an LA cop thinking she was a prostitute, and Ms. Watts refused to produce an ID, even her Screen Actors Guild card, merely because she “had done nothing wrong.” When you think of it, Americans have long been spared the “your papers!” demand from eastern European authorities endemic to 40’s movies, back when someone asking for your papers was shorthand for being in a totalitarian state, even if one on a Hollywood back lot.
Perhaps the mere fact that the poll worker working the A-F’s is a neighbor who goes right to my name while asking when they’re going to be finished with my porch should not be enough to allow me to waste my vote on yet another long shot, but, heck, why should familiarity only breed contempt? Back in Bush the Elder I remember producing an MG&E bill in my name at the address where I purported to live, and getting waved right in. Now, someone rifling through my garbage could have produced the very same, if soiled, bill and voted in my place at St James, but not only would he not have gotten past (let’s call her) Sarah, but his not stopping at the bake sale table and examining each and every brownie would have been a huge red flag.
It’s too easy to see irony in the fact that the only case of voter fraud in Wisconsin cited by the Supreme Court in the voter ID discussion was the guy in Milwaukee who voted 13 times for Scott Walker, who, due to temporary amnesia, could not even remember the absentee ballots or voting as his own and his girlfriend’s son. Terrible thing, temporary amnesia, especially in soap operas, but rather than inspiring a War on Temporary Amnesia, we, who had done nothing wrong, had to get state issued ID’s so we could know who we were even when we temporarily didn’t. Everyone, even (in fact, especially) those of us who had never voted for Scott Walker even once.
Renegade that I am, I’m thinking of bringing in my MG&E bill in November, as much for a joke as a protest, but poll watchers now can get close enough to see the outstanding balance, so I don’t know. Tell you one thing, though–this time I’m buying my brownies first.