Very likely, an alien from, say, Mars, might have read Ms. Leonna Heuring's insightful article entitled "Voter photo ID requirement could be confusing" (5/
24/06), and felt sympathy with all the poor County Clerks named in the article. After all, change never comes easy when the apple cart is upset.
The gist of the article is that Voter ID is now coming to Missouri. After a scant 180-plus years, the Missouri legislature has now decreed that legal voting is as important as checking out a library book, cashing a check or boarding an airplane. Our legislators have now decreed that--despite the individual difficulties involved -- voting -- our most fundamental civil right --is actually an obligation that the citizens of this state must respect as much as freedom of speech, freedom from search and seizure and the right to bear arms.
However, according to the article, it seems that the difficulties involved with implementing this new law are all that interest the media. Well, things will be different, that's for sure!
For instance, has anybody ever tried to take a photo ID of a dog? Heck, the feisty little critters just won't stand still for the pictures! And the dead? Have you ever tried to exhume a person from under a six feet of Sikeston Ridge dirt for a photo op? And what about the folks with the beer coupons--their smile is always different from one polling place to the other. No wonder the County Clerks are so confused by the new voter ID law! These were the "voters" that so many election clerks "used to know" in the past.
Maybe Ms. Heuring's article could have been balanced with the news about how many other states now also have this requirement of their citizenry. And the news that the Department of Justice has recently ruled that this requirement is completely legal, and in accordance and conformance with the Voter's Rights Act.
If, as Mike Hepler (Sullivan County Clerk, and President of the Missouri Association of County Clerks and Election Authorities) says, that this requirement "won't add any safeguards" to the current voting practices in Missouri, I would maintain that he slept through the 2000 election. Certainly the dogs and the dead of St. Louis might disagree with his assessment. So might all the voters of outstate Missouri.
Considering how many folks seem to run for the office of County Clerk every election cycle, maybe those officials now occupying that esteemed position might ask themselves why they ran for that office in the first place, if not to secure the basic integrity of the ballot box. After all, if the duties of this office are seen as "nightmare" by those elected to that position, maybe someone else might better fill those seats.
A Missouri Citizen