Only in Alice's GOP-land. Baxter & Galloway, hands down, no question about it, win column of the month award. - Photo ID & absentee voting.
From today's Political Insider in the AJC:
"Who are you?" asked Alice's caterpillar. "I am somebody!" answered the absentee voter. "Here's my fishing license"
The Republican legislation that touched off the walkout by Democrats last week would require voters who show up at the polls to produce one of five forms of photo identification.
That's a considerable tightening from the 17 types of identification, including utility bills and fishing license, that are acceptable now.
But guess what kind of identification is needed to vote absentee. Go ahead, guess.
"Right now, none," state Rep. Sue Burmeister (R-Augusta) admitted Wednesday at a subcommittee meeting. And as Democrats have been quick to point out, absentee voting is the area most often sullied with accusations of voter fraud.
It gets more tangled.
The photo ID bills being considered in the House and Senate deal only with on-site voting. Not only do they ignore the issue of absentee ballots, but they don't deal with voter registration either.
If you're a first-time voter registering by mail, you're only required to include a photocopy of any of those 17 types of identification — utility bill and fishing license included.
If you register in person, according to Kara Sinkule, spokeswoman for Secretary of State Cathy Cox, you only have to sign an affidavit verifying your identity. Not even a utility bill is required.
In other words, Lewis Carroll would be proud. If either of these two bills pass, it would be easier to establish that you are somebody, than it would be to prove later that you're still yourself.
But it wouldn't be impossible.
Republicans say non-driving voters can easily obtain state-issued photo IDs, for free, from any of 50 state motor vehicle offices across the state. Guess what proof is needed for that ID. Go ahead, guess.
Anything from that same list of 17 documents, including your utility bill or fishing license — this according to state Sen. Sam Zamarripa (D-Atlanta).
Burmeister said the loose requirements for absentee voting concern her, and she'd love to tighten them. But the tougher standards for on-site voting have "greater urgency," she said.
Surely, that urgency doesn't have anything to do with the fact that Republicans are tops when it comes to turning out absentee ballots for candidates. And the Democratic turnout machine is dependent on ferrying large numbers of ID-less people, in person, to the polls.
Part II on Photo ID:
AARP Georgia has joined the growing number of groups coming out against legislation that would require registered voters to show photo ID at the polls.
“While we are opposed to this change because it is unfair to voters of all ages, it is particularly onerous to Georgians 75 years and older, 36 percent of whom do not have a driver’s licenses,” AARP Georgia said in a press release.
“This proposal to eliminate up to a dozen previously acceptable forms of identification and substitute a photo ID is a draconian attempt at disenfranchisement and discrimination.”
Two bills, SB 84 and HB 244, mandate photo ID for voters and are being vigorously opposed by Democratic legislators. They contend a photo ID is tantamount to the old poll tax and designed to limit voting by minorities, the poor and elderly.
Republicans argue that requiring photo IDs will cut down on voter fraud.
(3-16-05 AJC; see also 3-16-05 AJC.)