A Case Study in Getting a Voter ID

If Republicans really cared about protecting elections, they would make sure every one who wants to vote has the chance


Having looked all over my house for my missing driver’€™s license, it was clear that I needed to make a trip out to the DMV in Madison to get a replacement’€”a perfect chance to spell out what goes into a trip to the DMV, like thousands of Wisconsinites will have to do if state leggies and ‘€œvoter ID’€ advocates Jeff ‘€œPoll Tax’€ Stone and Joe ‘€œCan’€™t Prove a Voter Fraud Case’€ Leibham had their way and passed a ridiculous voter ID law in Wisconsin.

The DMV office in Madison I went to is open from 8:30-4:15 MWF, and from 10-5:45 Tuesday and Thursday ‘€“ not exactly convenient for a 9-6 working man. But hey if I want to vote, I need an ID, right Jeff? So I bit the bullet and took off from work at 3 pm on Thursday. So I’€™m already being charged for my right to vote ‘€“ losing at least 3 hours of work time, and using 3 hours of my vacation time. So far, total estimated cost: $50.

On ‘€œnormal’€ days, I walk to work. But today, since I need my car to get to the far-east side DMV, I had to pay to park – $6 more.

Once I got to the DMV, the usually-crowded parking lot was nearly empty, 10 cars by my count’€”sweet this won’€™t take long, so I thought. However, once inside, it became clear that many of my fellow Madisonians had taken the bus or some other method of transport, and the wait was going to be much longer. I settled in under my iPod headphones and waited it out’€¦finally, my number’€™s called. I waited about 35 minutes, not too bad.

The new ID itself cost me $28. Total cost so far: $84.

Then, back into my car for the trip downtown, an 8 mile round trip, at $4/gallon (thanks GWB and McCain!). Estimated cost: $5-7. Total cost for getting my new ‘€œVoter ID?’€ Almost $90.

I’€™m guessing I won’€™t be getting a reimbursement from Liebham or Stone for the costs I’€™ve incurred to practice my most basic democratic right.

Now, should ‘€œPoll Tax’€ Stone get his way, the DMV is going to be flooded with Wisconsinites eager to vote (we do, after all, consistently beat national averages for voter turnout), so it’€™s safe to say that my wait time (and thus my hours off of work) will certainly increase. Not to mention the nearly $1 million cost increases that would be incurred by the state (aka the taxpayers for all you ‘€œmy taxes are too high’€ conservative types) and the ballooning of DMV staff and jurisdiction (for you small-government types).

If Leibham and Stone really cared about protecting the integrity of elections, they’€™d kick out Diebold and their crap voting machines, pay for comprehensive poll worker training, and make sure that we have enough ballots so every Wisconsinite who wants to vote has the chance. But they don’€™t. Voter ID is just a partisan political tactic employed by those scared of the voters they’€™re supposed to represent.

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