Saturday, September 1, 2012

Show Me Your AZ Voting Papers

When I got my new voter ID in the mail, back in June, I thought "Oh... OK... looks like they re-districted us" (since Dr Desert Flower and I have not moved, and our home does not have wheels).  I saved my card in the safe, and proudly took it out to take with me to the polls last Tuesday to exercise my civic duty and vote in the AZ primary election.  I had my driver's license with me as well, but figured I would not need it, since
1) I had my voter ID card
2) A Federal judge appellant panel had just struck down the racially and socioeconomically discriminatory Texas voter registration law where a "government issued photo ID" would no longer be necessary in Texas, and I figured it would have a ripple effect to other states. 

So I head to a Baptist church (my designated polling place) about 5 blocks away. I could have walked, but it was 104F, and I didn't want to be all sweaty when I got home, so I lazily drove.  There were 3 cars and a pickup truck in the church's parking lot in a primarily Hispanic neighborhood.  When I entered the poll, I was the Only voter in the whole place. 

I IMMEDIATELY presented my never-been-used-before Voter ID card, and the poll worker with the long computerized list, looked at it as if I was handing her a dead rat. 
"We need to see your normal ID" she flatly told me. 
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot??  "Normal ID?"  I incredulously replied. 
"Yes, your government issued photo ID, your driver's license" and she looked up at me impatiently, and somewhat indignantly. 
I am a terrible poker player.  The rolling of my eyes and look of combined shock and disgust must have shown very clearly on my face, as I took out my wallet and driver's license. 
"That's what we needed!" she smiled up at me happily, mispronounced my last name in a severely butchered fashion, and had me sign - upside down - on the page next to my name, which coincidentally, had ALL the same information that my Voter ID card had on it, along with a bar code!   I was also the ONLY person on the "P" page, to have signed that morning, at 1130am (polls opened at 7am).  Voter turn out was a paltry 30% in Phoenix last Tuesday.

So OK, it's nice, that the Maricopa County election board can get my Voter ID card to me prior to the election (thanks Helen Purcell!), and the information is correct, and that information matches the laser printed voter list the poll worker has, but it is distressing that the poll worker really did NOT want to see or use or leverage the Voter ID card whatsoever.  Over dinner, with Dr Desert Flower last Tuesday, I expressed my consternation about the Voter Photo ID hassle I'd had earlier (white people problems, yes), and she said "No, I read the signs all over the doors, and outside the poll that said you needed EITHER 1 government issued photo ID, or 2 other means, like a power bill, or rent receipt, that shows your name and address."  So the government issued Voter ID serves no more use than a water bill.  Awesome.  Back into the safe the ID goes, until someday we move and then I'll shred it.

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