Wednesday, April 30, 2008

HOW TO CAST A BALLOT IN INDIANA NOW THAT THE SUPREME COURT HAS REINTRODUCED VOTER SEGREGATION

BRAD BLOG For those wondering what a legally registered voter needs to do to successfully cast a ballot in Indiana so that it might be counted, in the event the voter doesn't currently own a state-issued photo ID (no, military ID is not acceptable) we thought we'd offer a handy quick guide:

Note: It doesn't matter if you've voted in every single election for the last 40 or 50 years at the same polling place. . . You'll still need to do the following if you don't happen to have an IN drivers license:

How to cast a ballot in Indiana, if you don't currently have a state-issued ID:

- Find your birth certificate or passport. If you don't have either, you might be able to apply to the state to get a copy of your birth certificate, if you happened to have been born there, for just $12. A passport may cost you $100 . . .

- Get yourself to a Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Don't let the fact that you don't drive, or have a car, or have access to public transportation, as in many counties in Indiana, stop you from getting to the BMV before Election Day.

- Do the above every four years, without fail, or risk not being able to vote like everyone else at the polls in Indiana on Election Day.

If you fail in any step above, don't have the money to afford the necessary documents, or have a religious objection to having your photo taken, do not to worry. Indiana has you covered. . .

- When you get to the polls, and are told you can't vote like everyone else, because you have no state-issued ID, you'll get to vote on a provisional ballot (hopefully, at least that's the law).

- Don't forget to sign the affidavit on the ballot, stating that you are who you say you are, before dropping it into the box, so officials can match your polling place Election Day signature with your voter registration form signature.

- Before 10 days have elapsed after you've voted, you must now figure out how to get a ride to the county seat, however far that may be from where you live. Get to the courthouse there, and then sign yet another affidavit, similar to the one you signed on Election Day at the polling place on your provisional ballot, attesting again to the fact that you are you. And then maybe, just maybe, if that signature is also judged to match your registration, then your vote might be counted. . .

As Scalia and friends noted in their decision yesterday, "the burden at issue is minimal" So what could those losers on the Supreme Court have been thinking, just 42 years ago, when they struck down a simple $1.50 poll-tax on the grounds that it might keep some voters from being able to cast their legal vote? Silly them.

STATELINE The Supreme Court's ruling upheld an Indiana law requiring all voters to present photo ID. Indiana is one of three states that require photo IDs, but other states make voters produce other kinds of identification, which can include bills, bank statements or paychecks:

Every first-time voter: Kansas Pennsylvania

First-time voters who registered by mail: California Idaho Illinois Iowa Maine Maryland Massachusetts Minnesota Mississippi Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New York North Carolina Oklahoma Oregon Rhode Island Utah Vermont West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming

Every voter: Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas Colorado Connecticut Delaware Kentucky Missouri Montana New Mexico North Dakota Ohio South Carolina Tennessee Texas Virginia Washington

Every voter must show a photo ID: Florida Georgia Indiana

Every voter is asked to show a photo ID: Hawaii Louisiana Michigan South Dakota

The court’s 6-3 decision leaves the door open for future legal challenges, if proof is presented that voters couldn't cast their ballots because of the new rules- evidence that the court said was missing from the Indiana case. But the court didn’t specify how many people must be affected for it to consider striking down the law.

"It’s going to be an uphill battle for anybody who would want to (challenge the Indiana law) just because the state interests are so strong" in holding fraud-free elections, said Indiana Solicitor General Tom Fisher. Fisher defended the law at oral arguments before the high court. . .

Under the Indiana law, registered voters must present a government-issued photo ID - such as a driver's license - to take part in the elections. Voters without proper identification can cast provisional ballots, but those count only if those voters show a photo ID at a county election office within 10 days.

Republicans muscled the law through the Indiana General Assembly without a single Democratic vote when the GOP still controlled both chambers.

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