LAST WORD: Voting and Your ID

Posted: October 29, 2008 in electronic voting, identification, voting

Elections are cutthroat times. A local candidate is being forced off the ballot while you are reading this blog because it is the week before the election.  In light of the fray, here is BeatTheChip’s hard-knocks election experience at the polls. 
Here is what happened to me when I went to vote.
I voted early this election at a University campus.  Some say early voting is not a good time to vote because they focus too much on the results and some votes get thrown out.   Just know – I did vote. You may e-mail me[beatthechip@gmail.com]and perform an exit poll on who I voted for IN THE END.
Nevertheless, a poll worker was actually standing in line ahead of me.   The only way I knew he was a poll worker was when turned around and saw the mounting line behind me and then asked me for my I.D.   To which I replied knowing my facts, “There is no law in this state that demands that I show you my license.”  
TRUE STATEMENT:  Most states do not have voter ID laws.  You only have to show a document (It could be a billing statement.) that shows your first and last name and an address
The poll worker then said, “Yes, you do!”  I reiterated that there is no law in the State of Texas that mandates that I show him my ID.  He then said, “Either that or a voter registration card.”   Unfortunately, this is where I was duped.  I didn’t need a voter registration card.   As indicated above… all I needed was a piece of mail substantiating my  residence.
I replied, “I don’t HAVE to show you my ID, but I will oblige you.”  This was an exercise in frustration.  I was asked 5 minutes later to show my ID, again, at the registration check-in : a red table to the right and a blue table to the left.  I immediately asked if there was any difference in the direction I went.   The clerk replied, “No.”
Great. Onto the next hoop jumping contest. “May I see your ID?”   Annoyed, I handed the woman my California license.  She immediately flipped over the back of the license and scanned the bar code on the back.  I was really shocked when I saw this.   She then whined and said, “Ohhh… it’s not coming up!”   That would have been the only benefit, in this case, to having an out of state license that wasn’t recognized in their voter rolls system.
NOTE: It is intended for you to make the connection that the DMV or DPS motor vehicle database codes and records were available in voter recognition programs.  
I then replied, “It’s alright. I know I wasn’t purged from the voter rolls.  Would you like to enter my name so that I can vote?”  Annnd ..countershock in  3..2..1.. with raised eyebrows she flipped my license back over and then punched in my name.  Amazingly enough my name and Texas voter registration information came up.    Both attendants then squirmed in their seat and licked their lips like nervous cats.  One attendant had to resticker my name to the voter registration readout form because they weren’t used to this type of computer evasion.
I just got lucky.   Had I cao-taoed to any one of these people with a Texas state ID, every action I took during my voting experience would have been recorded.
I then proceeded to the voter wheel-of-fortune where I dialed in my varied 3rd party campaign trail mix and then hit the red button.    A woman who had voted in the booth next to mine began to pace back and forth behind me saying, “Is that right?  Should I have to lose my vote because the machine didn’t recognize my candidate?”    It was both distracting and disturbing.
VoteRescue.org has great advice on what I did both wrong and right when I voted and how you can preserve your vote on electronic-election day.  
May you do better than I did.
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