President Obama created a stir recently by suggesting voting should be mandatory in our country. He went on to point out how transformative it would be for the entire country and how it would be the best way to blunt the influence big money donors have on our democracy. President Obama also made a point of saying this would give more voice to the young and poor who tend not to vote. However, the truth is, he, and Democrats in general, are trying to find a way to counter Republican efforts to require voters to present a valid ID before casting their ballot, something that many believe would prevent the young and poor from voting.
Voting is an expression of our freedom of speech. However, just like with speaking, one has the right to choose not to vote. You can not make someone who has nothing to say speak just as you can not make someone vote who either does not care who is elected or who does not support any of their choices on a ballot.
It is, however, perfectly reasonable to expect the person who chooses to vote to be able to prove they are who they claim to be when they show up to vote. If doing this prevents just one person from voting illegally, then it is worth it. If it prevents thousands from voting illegally, then it is even better.
Democrats will argue voter ID cards create a financial hardship to those who cannot afford to purchase one. That may or may not be true; however, if it is true, how does such a person receive a welfare check from the government? Didn’t they have to produce some type of valid ID when filling out their paper work? If not, perhaps they should.
If our nation can afford an Affordable Care Act that provides millions with health care, can’t we afford to provide all our citizens with valid identification cards so they can vote? And again, how do these people receive affordable health care if they cannot produce a valid ID? Don’t we maintain a national database on all our citizens? If not, why do we make such a big deal about the census every ten years?
The fact is, expecting voters to produce a valid ID is not restricting anyone from voting. Any person who goes through life without carrying any valid identification is probably doing so because they do not want people to know who they are. Their desire to vote runs about as high as their desire to be struck by lightning. They do not care who the president is. They don’t want to know who their representative in Congress is. And they could care less who is mayor of whatever town or city they are trying to live under the grid in.
Our government provides citizens in need with plenty of assistance: food, shelter, and medicine to name just a few. A voter ID card with a current photo and place of residence is not that difficult to provide to anyone who wants to vote. If we can do it for seniors living in assisted care facilities then we can do it for college students living in dorms, homeless people living out of shelters, or young mothers living in government-funded housing.
What is more important: punishing those who choose not to vote or making sure anyone who does vote is who they claim to be?
Jim is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is also the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching. Jim considers himself an equal opportunity pain in the ass to any political party, group, or individual who looks to profit off of hypocrisy. When he is not pointing out the conflicting words and actions of our leaders, the NFL commissioner, or humans in general, he can be found riding his bike for hours on end while pondering his next article. Jim recently moved to Camarillo, CA after being convinced to join the witness protection program.