Thursday, May 1, 2008
It's been so long since I registered to vote that I don't remember what documentation I had to provide. But I do know that when I show up at the neighborhood garage, the poll workers just check out my name and address - and I'm cleared to exercise my privilege as a citizen of this democracy where the will of the people counts.
However, after Monday's ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the nation's strictest voting identification law (to discourage voter fraud), that privilege may not be as easily accessible for some citizens . The disputed 2005 Indiana statute that the court reviewed requires that citizens must show federal or state-issued photo ID at polling places. The Democratic Party of Indiana objected, claiming that the legislators who passed the law were blocking elderly, disabled, poor, and minority voters (most of whom vote Democratic) from their rights as citizens, and this is unconstitutional. & But six of the nine justices didn't agree and their decision is expected to have national repercussions as more states adopt similar legislation, possibly before the 2008 general election.
Interestingly, last time the U.S. Supreme Court weighed in on a state election matter was in 2000 (Bush v. Gore) when it overturned the Florida Supreme Court's decision to count thousands of under-votes (ballots not counted by machines). Three (Kennedy, Scalia and Thomas) of the five justices who voted for that overturn, which delivered Florida's electoral votes (and the election) to George W. Bush, are still serving and this time voted to uphold Indiana's photo ID law.