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I made a minor scene at the Michigan primary polls yesterday.

Michigan law requires you to prove your identity at the polls in one of two ways: show photo ID or sign an affidavit on the back of the ballot registration stating you are who you say you are.  The latter came about because a few years ago, Michigan's GOP tried to sneak a voter ID law onto the books, but were told by the courts, "You better not!" at the last minute.  However, a lot of people still think you need ID at the polls.

I refuse to show my ID to exercise my Constitutional right to vote.  So I always show up without my ID on me.

When Darwin and I went down to the local elementary school to vote, the poll worker handed us the little form to fill out.  I automatically flipped mine over to sign the affidavit on the back.

Darwin said to the poll worker, "Does Michigan law require me to show ID to vote?"

"Yes," said the poll worker.

"No," I said firmly, still filling out my form.

"Yes," said the affronted poll worker.

"No," I repeated.  "You can fill out the affidavit on the back like I'm doing right now."

There was a bit of a kerfluffle, and the supervisor came over.  He acknowledged that the affidavit was acceptable. I took my ballot to the booth.

Darwin, who ended up showing his ID, got delayed. The poll workers messed something up and had to discard and redo a couple-three ballots, including his.  This meant I had to wait around for considerable time while Darwin voted.

"Does Michigan law require me to show ID to vote?" asked a lady in line.

"Yes," said the same poll worker.

"Really?" said the woman.

"Absolutely," said the poll worker.

At this point, I stepped forward and said, "You can sign the affidavit on the back if you don't have ID with you."

"That's what I thought," the woman said, and signed the affidavit.

A moment later, I noticed the supervisor standing alone, so I approached him.

"You know," I said, "Michigan law definitely doesn't require ID to vote."

"Yes, it does," he said.

"No, it doesn't," I said, feeling like I had stepped into Monty Python's Argument Clinic.  "I just voted without it."

"Well, you have to show ID, and if you don't have it, you can sign the affidavit."

"Which means you don't need ID," I said.  "But your poll worker just told me =and= that woman over there that we're required to show ID."

"No, he didn't."  (I swear he said exactly this.)

"Yes, he did.  That's why we had the argument a moment ago.  After you clarified that I could sign the affidavit, the worker knew ID isn't required, but he told that woman she needed it anyway.  Your poll workers are lying to people.  They shouldn't be allowed to do that, yeah?"

Pause.  "Agreed.  I'll talk to them."

A bit later, he came over to me with a piece of paper that had Michigan's voter ID law on it.  "You can see here," he said, "that ID is required by law."

"But down here," I said, pointing, "it says that if you don't have ID, you can get a ballot by signing an affidavit."  Here my teaching instincits kicked it.  "A better way to say this might be, 'May I see your ID? It's not required, but it helps us.' "

He thought about that.  "Okay, yeah."  And he walked over to the ballot worker table.

Eventually, Darwin finished with his ballot and we left.

Changing the world one ballot worker at a time.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 3rd, 2016 04:41 pm (UTC)
head hits desk.
Aug. 3rd, 2016 06:04 pm (UTC)
Surprised at their behavior I am not. I have to admit that I've been very lucky with the poll workers at my polling place. They seem to know what they are doing, and rarely cause snags (that I've seen). Good for you to stand up for your (and everyone else's) rights.

(So? Darwin works in city government, but doesn't know the voting law? Summer school for him.)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
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