Both of these proposed election reforms seem like “no-brainers,” don’t they? Well, maybe not to everyone…(via ProJo’s Michael P. McKinney)
Requiring voters to provide identification at the polls is either a needed safeguard against recent voter fraud or a way to disenfranchise minorities, the poor, elderly, disabled and the homeless from exercising their right to vote.
That’s how testimony played out before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday on the most heated of several bills that would make changes to state election laws.
The voter ID bill, whose prime sponsor is Rep. Susan Story, R-Barrington, split members of the committee and drew opposition from the state chapters of Common Cause and the American Civil Liberties Union among others…Cliff Montiero, president of the Providence branch of the NAACP, said the organization strongly opposed the bill. “We feel it’s the beginning of the poll tax,” he said. He added: “We do not want to put another burden on the people we are trying to encourage” to participate.
Another Story-sponsored bill drew more uniformly supportive testimony: It would end the option of simply voting for one party or the other in one stroke. She and others said when someone votes one slate but also votes for one candidate from another party, the voter may not realize it can disqualify that ballot.
As I and my fellow citizen/voters stood around the polling place last November–amidst some confusion regarding who should vote in which Ward and put their ballots in which machine–there was a general consensus that a voter-id seemed to make a whole lot of sense. Make the ID free and provide it to everyone. There’s no poll tax, that’s hyperbole. And removing the straight party ticket option is also past due. What do both have in common? They put more responsibility on the shoulder’s of the voter by making the voting process slightly more inconvenient.
I think that being inconvenienced is a price the average Rhode Islander would be willing to pay if they knew that it mitigated against their vote being canceled out by that of red-state residing skinhead voting the straight party ticket for the Republican party?