Friday, September 14, 2012

Voter ID Constitutional

I've been voting since I was 21, when I registered with the Mercer County NJ Board of Elections. I only registered because my wife Janet encouraged me to do so, and because it was painless. If I remember correctly, back in 1971 I had to actually go to their office in Trenton, show them my Driver's License, and sign a form. Painless.

I registered as an independent with the firm belief that I should vote for the best candidate regardless of party. I was not familiar with party platforms or the rough and tumble of political maneuverings. It was the days before there were public debates sponsored by the League of Women Voters or others, except for presidential ones which couldn't be missed with all the hype. Now, in 2012, during the Obama-Romney election cycle, not a moment goes by without a new comment, news bulletin or attack ad. So much in fact, that its very difficult to get through all the chatter, or find independent sources of information.

That's why I'm so grateful to the Internet and for email. I get my daily political news summaries from Politifact and others. I realize Politifact isn't neutral according to many critics, or that all political statements are empirical enough to even be fact-checked. But notwithstanding its detractors and faults, I get a kick out of reading their pronouncements. Especially when they present data to explain their judgement.

But I digress. My real point is that registering to vote has long been required. Once registered, my signature was added to the County Elections Book, and whenever I vote, I must sign the book and, theoretically, my signature is compared to whats on file. Notwithstanding the fact that the original signature is now over 40 years old. Believe me, after a long career in State government and signing thousands of letters and documents, my signature today is in no way similar to what it was. Nor is it uniform. There's got to be a better way.

Some form of ID at the polls seems inevitable, and in the long run, some form of national or international ID, also seems inevitable. So why all the fuss?
Its because of the timing. Six months or less before a presidential election is not the time to institute new voter controls. Its prima facie and patently unfair to require such documentation now. After the election in November? Be my guest.