COMMENTARY: Phony Baloney Opposition to Voter ID

Stuffing the ballot box is as bad as closing the lid

When I grew up, it was standard practice for the local ward healer to send a "helper" into the voting booth with you, especially if your sympathies were questionable.  If you didn’t vote "the right way," which was Democrat where I lived, you could have a lot of trouble finding a local job.

Early voting machines even had a straight-party lever that would, with one swipe, vote for every candidate of the same political party; the option still exists in some locations. This ‘"feature’"was supposedly designed to make voting easier, of course the real purpose was to make controlling the voting easier.

Crooked and/or incompetent election practices have been legend in the U.S. since the first time someone said, let’s take a vote.  "Vote early and vote often" is an iconic phrase for a reason and the cemeteries have always been full of dedicated voters perpetually exercising their franchise long after they had left the land of the living.

Some sanctioned abuses, like gerrymandering, were even considered inventive. Ballot boxes in Chicago had a mind of their own; they would wander off for hours at a time every election only to be discovered, and counted, at the last minute. Many other reprehensible practices such as poll taxes, civics tests, and outright intimidation were used, primarily, to suppress minority voters. Thank goodness almost all of these are gone.

Every person entitled to vote should do so, on the other hand only those entitled to vote should be permitted to do so. Stuffing the ballot box is as bad as closing the lid.

In modern American society you can do almost nothing of significance unless you have government recognized identification and in many places you can’t get a government ID without a fingerprint.  In a world where identity theft has become routine, who you really are is more important than ever.

Much of the problem comes from technology. There was a time when the lowly utility bill had some value for identification, but that should be long gone; now you can print up as many fake utility bills as you like for a few cents apiece. Besides, who gave PG&E an official voter fraud prevention mandate?

Voting is more important than almost any other thing you do, but it needs to be restricted to qualified voters; however, voting does not require an ID in most jurisdictions. There is no real excuse for not having an acceptable ID.  What’s the big deal? Just make believe you’re buying an over-the-counter decongestant cold medicine because even that requires an ID by federal law.

Marty Richman

Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Marty (Martin G.) spent his teen years in northern New Jersey. He served more than 22 years on active military duty, mostly in Europe, and is a retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 4, Nuclear Weapons Technical Officer. Marty then worked 25 years in various engineering and management positions in the electronics and energetic materials industries supporting the communications, computer, aerospace, defense and automotive sectors. He is a graduate, summa cum laude, from The College of Hard Knocks, among his numerous awards and accomplishments. He was a regular weekly Op/Ed columnist and feature writer for The Hollister Free Lance for seven years and a member of its editorial board for five years. Marty is a frequent commentator and contributor to BenitoLink on a wide variety of local, state, national and international subjects.   Marty was elected to represent the City of Hollister District 4 on the City Council in November, 2018. Marty and his wife, Joyce, have been residents of Hollister since 1996.