Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Voter Registration Breathing Down my Neck

This election has been breathing down my neck. Here I am in a new state and I had to register soon!Voter registration laws have been in the news in various states and I was guilty of disinterest--until we moved to Colorado.

I couldn't register online without a Colorado driver's license so we dropped our procrastination and went to get new driver's licenses.

I took our passports, two proofs of my address, our NC driver's license, and other miscellany.  Seemed like I had everything except my birth certificate. I hoped the fact that we'd previously had a Co DL would facilitate the process.

At the entrance we took our tickets, like an old meat market. We drew numbers 96 and 97. The waiting area was quieter than a funeral home. Five rows of pews were jammed front to back like a big foot in small shoe. The room was four pews wide. It was standing room only. The mounted TV monitors flashed customer numbers instead of hymn numbers. They were on number 40.

An hour and a half later our number was called. I handed over my stack of qualifying documents. She spread them out, entered numbers into her computer system, and  tracked down the old CO DL on their system. Then we hit a snag. The numbers of my social security number in their system were transposed. My medicare card, issued by the Social Security Administration, mind you, was not a "valid" proof of my SS number. I'd have to bring back a 1099 tax form.

Bill didn't fare any better. Even though he had a letter from the Social Security Administration with his SS# on it, they wouldn't accept it.

At least I knew where to find the 1099s. The clerk  ignored all of my hyperbole, said she'd squeeze us up to the front of the line if we could get back the same day.

I grumbled the groused the whole way home.  It didn't help that Saint Bill was chuckling and telling me to learn patience. At home we chowed down and I dug up tax forms. Too bad it was too early for a drink; it might have improved my mood.

On the second trip I shut up and let my sweet husband do all of the talking. He put on his best Hilary imitation and announced to the clerk "We're baa-ck." We were out of there half an hour later. And she said we were funny. That was generous of her.

One final stroke on the keyboard and she registered me to vote, too.

But what if you're disabled and have to get a ride to go back and forth for additional documentation?  Or you don't keep good records and have to request duplicate copies of documents? Or you don't have a passport or state ID with a photo?

I would have given up if I hadn't needed the driver's license. (And I wasn't so vehement about voting in this election.)

Maybe there are frauds out there who vote for cash, Tammany Hall style, but I doubt it. And maybe a few undocumented immigrants have tried to vote. But I'm a citizen, and I had a terrible time proving it. I'm glad the Democrats oppose many of the laws proposed to cut down on voter fraud. Colorado's requirements to get a DL are ridiculously stringent.

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