Thursday, October 18, 2012

Voting Law Changes Have Consequences

Here is an email I received from a constituent regarding her experience trying to vote four months ago in Riverside Precinct.
Allow me to relate to you my recent experience while trying to vote at the [Riverside] precinct located in the Riverside Elementary School, Old Mt. Vernon Road, Alexandria. This happened during primary elections this past June.

I have voted at the [Riverside] precinct during every election since moving to the Mt. Vernon area in August l975. My husband and I are now retired. When we came to the registration desk, I discovered that I had left my driver’s license in my other purse.

Despite the fact that I had other photo identification (my American Express Costco card had a photo ID), was with my husband (who fortunately had his driver’s license), had voted in every election since l975 at that same precinct, and could be identified by others in the room who were working the polls and who knew us as husband and wife, I was denied a regular ballot. I had to go to another table where I filled out papers for a provisional ballot.

I am assuming that my provisional ballot was tossed out. I was so annoyed and irritated over the intransigence of the voting officials that I did not return with the proper identification. Given the fact that my candidate was expected to win, it hardly seemed worth the effort. But what if the election had been close and I had been unable to return, for whatever reason?

I am utterly dismayed over the ridiculous obstacles that voters are faced with when trying to exercise a constitutional right. Election officials apparently see a problem when none exists. I am clearly a senior citizen, have resided in the community for 37 years at the same address, and even though folks at the polling booth knew me to be who I am, I could not receive a regular ballot. I shudder to think what happens to poor and/or elderly folk, for whom it is a struggle to get to the polls, if they show up with unacceptable ID. Too many people have fought and died for the right to vote. It should not be taken away at the polls.
Please make sure you bring a valid form of ID to the polls. 

Just think, if this happened to one person, how many votes this can equate to on a statewide basis.  In 2000, Florida proved that one-percent of the vote can determine who our next President is. 

To avoid these kinds of problems, vote absentee early if you can.


  1. It absolutely flabbergasts me that a voter would ADMIT to not having an acceptable form of ID, but get exasperated at having to follow the rules.

    America is a country of laws. The law doesn't say "or if someone at the precinct knows you", it clearly states what one must present to vote a regular ballot. End of story.

  2. No voter ID was required in the June primary.

    The only thing you had to vote before July 1, 2012 was your word.