April 30, 2012

In this space I usually try to write something that is funny or unusual. Today it is neither but it is something you should know.

Last week Pennsylvania held it's primary elections. When Lady Laura and I went to vote we got a surprise ... and an education. I learned that Pennsylvania, along with many other states, now REQUIRE you to have a photo I.D. in order to vote. (I was going to refuse to show a photo I. D. even though I have one but the poll worker did not ask me to show it.)

But you may not be able to vote! How can this possibly be? You may be registered to vote, and may have voted for over 50 years. But you could be surprised when you show up to vote in the election this coming November. You could be told that you are no longer eligible to vote! You may hear the words, "No you can't vote."

Voter PHOTO ID laws are being considered, or have been already passed, in 38 of our 50 states. The groups that would be hurt by these laws seem to be Seniors, the Poor, Non-Drivers, Non-Travelers without a passport.

So what is the story? In the affected states, you must show a VALID PHOTO ID to vote. Forget the utility bills that were used for decades to prove residency, or forget your Social Security card with no photo, or any other good ID that does not have your photo. In Texas, for example, this means a driver's license, a military ID, passport, or - believe it or not - a concealed weapons license. Not in the military, don't carry a concealed weapon, no passport, don't drive? FORGET IT, NO vote for you. Other states have different requirements that must be met.

I am concerned about this since many Seniors have no photo ID, and would find it extremely difficult to obtain one. Some have no birth certificate that could be used to get some form of ID. What a predicament for up to 12% of us. So, even if a Senior has voted for decades, they could now be disqualified.

In a year when some politicians have their sites set on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, WE MUST VOTE. We must not allow our vital programs to be sacrificed to pay for extra tax cuts for the "entitled". We have worked for and paid for our Senior programs, and we will stand up for them.

Please do what you can to determine what will be required of you to vote in your state, and then attempt to go about obtaining whatever you can to comply. These laws must be removed, but for now we cannot afford to miss this November's vote.

Here is a link where you can begin to understand your state's requirements. I cannot vouch for the absolute accuracy of the content on the linked page, as laws are being enacted as you are reading this. Be careful not to confuse "existing" law with "new law" in the columns: Click here to go to this web site.