FOR THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
To the Editor:
In response to the column by Bob Harper, “Voter ID causing a great flap”, I have a few thoughts to share. This is the first time in my memory that Mr. Harper has written about something being provided free to citizens by the government (IDs for those without one) without stating that nothing is free, and complaining that the cost is taken out his taxes. So enfranchising voters must surely be one cause he is passionate about.
It shouldn’t cost that much, relatively speaking, for the final step of handing out the actual ID. It is all the prior steps that I am surprised he is willing to pay for. For example, hiring and training the extra personnel to take the ID photos, and buying and maintaining the machines and obtaining the ID material.
Before that, sixthly, the state will have to pay for birth certificates and other documentation for those without one. After all, this is one of the major reasons why a person doesn’t already have an ID, and without free documentation, the ID isn’t free. Don’t forget that fifthly, transportation must also be provided to courthouses and government agencies here and in other states for these records. Fourthly, add gas at the current cost. This is after thirdly, setting up a phone bank and training staff to answer the public’s questions and arrange the logistics, which is while advertising and publicizing the new requirement. These expenses will most likely accrue over the next two years, as the only logical time frame is the same as the next major election cycle. And secondly, additional provisional balloting procedures will be needed in 2014 if some citizens miss paying attention to this new unnecessary law.
This is starting to sound like a large tax burden on Mr. Harper. But the largest expense to the state may be the first requirement, solving the problem of identity theft and ending it 100 percent. After all, what good is a laminated driver’s license-style ID if I go to the polls and find out that an identity thief has counterfeited an ID and already cast my vote? Right now, I am not worried that someone would try to impersonate me at the polls. But what if someone flashed a phony ID at a distracted, busy poll worker. If that’s the only step taken, don’t say it can’t happen. At least as often as any previous fraud.
Identity fraud already exists and is easier to perpetrate if you are only glancing at a photo instead of the thoughtful process we now use. And despite Mr. Harper’s willingness for his taxes to be used for all these expenses, certainly the state has many more pressing needs and opportunities where it could be better spent. Especially given the absence of documented evidence of massive voter fraud.
Melanie Goff Bradley