My friends, I have only one small thing today, and it’s not to remind you to vote tomorrow. If you don’t already know to vote tomorrow, you’re no friend of mine. If you don’t plan on voting tomorrow—excluding, of course, those who already have—I don’t even have words to describe how disgusting you are. And I know a lot of words.
No, the small thing I have for you today is a reminder to not take your identification to the polling place with you. I repeat: Do not
take your identification, photo or otherwise, with you when you go to vote. You don’t need it.
I know… I know… you’ve been hearing for days from all the local news chirpies that you do
need your driver’s license or something official with both your mug and your name on it, but you don’t.
I quote the Idaho Voters Pamphlet, published by Secretary of State Ben Ysursa: “A registered voter must either present a photo ID or sign a Personal Identification Affidavit
I’ve been blowing this particular whistle for about three election cycles now, ever since our local Republican leaders got in line with the expanding national efforts to keep American citizens from voting. The question of whether they are intentionally acting to suppress the vote is no longer a paranoid suspicion. From Florida to Ohio, Texas to Pennsylvania, the Carolinas to Idaho, Republican leaders have determined that if too many black people, Hispanic people, old people, young people and women people show up at the polls, their GOP will be SOL. Yet it seems to be more in their nature to corrupt democracy and stifle this most basic of rights than to make whatever changes it would take to be less offensive to those demographics they fear the most.
Idaho’s attempts at voter suppression have, so far, been relatively mild compared to some other states. If we don’t count those people who for one reason or another don’t drive, it may seem to be a simple thing to show a license in return for a ballot.
But the level of convenience isn’t really the point here, nor is it why I insist on signing the affidavit rather than obediently showing my ID. I do it because citizens should be assumed innocent of criminal intentions until proven guilty of criminal activity, not the other way around—assumed to be cheaters and fraudulent voters until they are forced to prove they are who they say they are.
Mostly, I do it because the manipulating Republican elite will continue to push voters into tighter, ever more restrictive cages until they are stopped. If you don’t believe me, the Republican on the ballot for secretary of state—the very office that controls the operation our state elections—has already suggested that he’s considering mandatory fingerprint identification as the next step in keeping people away from the polls. This is coming from a man, Lawerence Denney, who has proved so corrupt and abusive with his power (as the former speaker of the House) that even his fellow Republicans found him intolerable.
It is a small and perhaps feeble gesture to refuse to show ID, and I apologize to those dedicated volunteers at the polling stations for making their job a tad more complicated. But believe me, as insignificant as it may be to a boss political hog like Denney, it is a great deal more personally satisfying than meekly going along with their rigged game.
And I dream of the day many more Idahoan voters—Republicans, Democrats and independents, alike—will opt for the affidavit than comply with the ID. A few elections with 100,000 or more affidavits each would be a grand way of telling these power-greedy worms, “Hey! Take your voter suppression and shove it!”
Oh, and an even grander way of expressing that same sentiment would be to put Holli Woodings into the office Lawerence Denney craves so wantonly.