Archived Story

Voter ID is much like a poll tax

Published 9:47am Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I do not live in Albert Lea, but I am a proud granddaughter of longtime Albert Lea residents. I spent dozens of summers at my grandparents’ home on Albert Lea Lake where I learned the value of the golden rule and countless lessons on life. I live in Fridley, and I am the volunteer coordinator for a popular state senator. I am graduating in May with my master’s degree in political management and advocacy from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. My grandma knows that I am eager to talk politics anytime, anywhere with anyone, especially in an election season. One of the more recent conversations that I had with her was intensely political, and I have thought about it a lot. I figured that if she was curious about certain topics and if she had questions and ideas that she wanted to bounce off of me, perhaps these questions and ideas were commonplace to her community as well.

1. Absentee voting: Do not let anyone tell you that your reason for desiring to vote absentee is not “good enough.” Voting absentee can be done for a variety of reasons; those who are preparing to be out of town on Election Day, those who cannot stand in line for long periods of time, those without transportation to polling places and those that simply want to avoid the rush and any other reason you can think of are able to vote via an absentee ballot.

2. Marriage amendment: Why are we having this conversation? Let’s be blunt here: I hope no one cares about what happens in my bedroom, because I certainly don’t care what happens in anyone else’s bedroom.  For those concerned about the sanctity of marriage I point out Newt Gingrich’s multiple divorces, celebrity quickie divorces and interracial marriage. Interracial marriage was once thought to be the doom of society and here we are — alive and kicking. I have too much to worry about in my own life to worry about who marries who.

3. Voter ID: Let’s call it what it is: voter suppression. A similar amendment passed in Texas and was struck down by the Texas Supreme Court because it systematically targeted blacks and the poor for disenfranchisement. Same-day voter registration would be eliminated and absentee voting would be in jeopardy. This means that troops overseas, elderly and the ill without transportation would be denied the right to vote. The poor are also at risk to be denied the right to vote. This is a poll tax. This law would require citizens to spend money on an ID so that they can vote. Poll taxes are against the law. Those within the community without the ability to travel to the DMV or to take off work to sit at the DMV as well as those that are unable to pay for a valid ID are all refused the right to vote with the passage of this amendment. Students and citizens that are highly mobile and travel as a requirement of their jobs are also at risk for having an ID in which the address stated on the ID does not match their current address of residence.


Avonna Caroline Starck