Like most people, recently I’ve been asked to present photo identification on a number of occasions without regard to my race, religion, or national origin. The majority of the requests I’ve received have come in circumstances many would consider more or less routine: checking in for a flight and passing through airport security; registering as a guest at a hotel; using a credit card when purchasing something more expensive than a meal or tank of gas; and buying over-the-counter medications. In addition, I was required to show photo identification while visiting the Department of Justice here in Washington.
In the last few weeks, however, my experiences in this regard have been of another sort entirely. On November 17, very much to my surprise, I had a medical emergency. The excellent physicians who treated me prescribed a battery of tests and evaluations by a number of specialists, with whom I had a series of appointments and office visits.
Bear in mind, I was referred to the various specialists for every one of these tests and appointments. So, the offices to which I reported knew I was coming; they knew in advance who I was and why I was there, and they had instructions and records forwarded by other medical professionals in hand when I arrived.
Yet, in every single instance, before these assorted medical offices would see me — and notwithstanding all of the information they had about me already — I was asked to present photo identification.
On the heels of these experiences, just this week I received an urgent email message from the “Director for Voter Protection” of the Democratic National Committee.
Seeing this title — Director of Voter Protection — I almost expected to read about measures being taken by the DNC to protect elderly white citizens from intimidation at the polls by the New Black Panthers. I thought perhaps the DNC was courageously seizing the initiative, since the Department of Justice has declined to take any action against such illegal voter intimidation tactics. Or possibly, I surmised, the DNC is announcing steps to assure that the voting rights of military personnel serving abroad will be protected against the numerous well-documented partisan efforts (by Democrats) to disqualify absentee ballots from our service personnel.
Reading further, I discovered that the email was not about these serious matters. Rather, it warned me of a “Republican effort to pass laws that restrict voting rights,” and of “these laws’ implications for real people.” The DNC, I was told, “will not sit idly by while the Republican Party attempts to infringe on the rights of American voters.”
Well, seeing this, I naturally read on to learn whether the SEIU had switched sides and would now be dispatching thugs to threaten would-be Democratic voters.
Instead, I found that the fuss is all about state laws that would require voters to present photo identification in order to confirm their identities at the polls. Just as I had to confirm my identity at various medical offices. Just as we all must when boarding a plane or checking in to a hotel.
Democrats, it seems, are adamantly opposed to asking voters to confirm their identities. Indeed, the DNC’s email claims that requiring voters to identify themselves violates “fundamental rights.”
Now, unless I’ve missed something, there is no fundamental right to vote without identifying oneself. Just as there is no right to board a plane without presenting proper identification. And I’ll bet one cannot get food stamps or government assistance without identification.
Certainly, too, as of today there is no “right” to commit vote fraud. Or, for that matter, any sort of fraud.
That brings me back to my medical saga. As a concerned citizen, I asked at several medical offices whether it was really necessary for them to ask me for my photo identification, and whether they have problems with people who lack such identification.
What I heard was that they do not have any problem, because “everybody” has “photo ID.”
And more significant, I was told by one very competent and polite African-American lady that “photo ID” is necessary because, even with all of the other records, the providers have to protect themselves against “fraud.” Thus, they have to be certain that the individuals who show up for appointments are who they say they are. In their view asking for photo ID is eminently reasonable, something that is expected and not in the least burdensome.
Perhaps the DNC would see this as evidence of a conspiracy to deny medical treatment to people unable to identify themselves. But the people making the requests, based on my conversations, clearly would view this concern as silly. To them, it’s about fraud prevention, plain and simple.
And so, when I think about the DNC’s concern about the implications of voter ID laws “for real people,” I have to wonder if their concern isn’t really more about people who are not “real” — i.e., the dead and imaginary voters who have turned out for decades now in Chicago and other Democratic strongholds across the country.
Certainly the activities of ACORN and its allies in 2008, which are being cranked up again for 2012, belie any DNC profession of concern about the integrity of elections. The same can be said for the Department of Justice’s refusal to take action to clean up voter rolls – they will not force local authorities to comply with federal voting laws by removing dead people and others who are ineligible from the rolls.
It’s like the lady at the hospital said, asking for photo ID is about preventing fraud — in medical care and in elections. It is just that simple. And the DNC’s partisan claims to the contrary are simply dishonest.