Guest Opinions: Voter ID Laws

Category:  Opinion
Wednesday, January 8th, 2014 at 8:50 AM

In principle, I don't have a problem with voter ID. As an Election Official, I understand the need to make sure there isn't fraud in the voting process.

However, on Monday, Dec. 2, I went up to the Driver License Center to get a voter ID card. I had to take two buses to get there because for some reason the center is located way out in the boondocks where nobody lives. But I am required by law to get this ID card, and without it, I can't vote. Moreover, I'm an elected Libertarian Inspector of Elections, and I thought it reasonable to obey the law I have to enforce.

So I get out there only to find out that apparently nobody does anything on Monday! Setting aside the questions of: why are they being paid if they don't work, why don't they at least tell people they won't get any service, and why does a government office have an unlisted phone number, I went back Tuesday, Dec. 3 only to have them tell me the server was down.

For some reason, every thing in the office is saved to a server hundreds of miles away – including the camera and the number machine for people in the waiting area! Why they set up a camera (a camera!) to only work if connected to a server (not just a computer – that would be stupid enough – but a server!) hundreds of miles away is beyond me. This is complete incompetence. Somebody had to put some work into being this stupid. And to top it all off they don't even list the phone number so people can call ahead to find out if they feel like doing something that day.

So I try to complain at PennDOT’s website only to find out that you can't because you need an ID card number, which I of course don't have because they won't give me an ID card! I tried to call PennDOT, and after listening to five minutes of worthless menus, I finally was able to talk to someone. I told them that I was trying to get a voter ID card, and the first thing he asked me is: "What's your drivers license number?"

When I pointed out that I wouldn't need a voter ID if I had a driver’s license, he told me that he couldn't help me and said I had to call the Erie County election office! They of course told me to call PennDOT, and when I told them I had already spoke to them, they told me to call the Department of State. I did, and they told me to go to my local Driver License Center! When I pointed out that I already had twice, they said that not all centers did voter ID. I asked her, "Are you telling me there isn't any place in Erie County to get a voter ID?" and they told me there was more than one center in Erie County. That, of course, was a lie.

I tried to send a message to the Secretaries of State and Transportation, but there is no contact information for them. Apparently they don't want to hear from the taxpayers. I sent a message to the governor and Sen. Sean Wiley and got no response. I sent Rep. Flo Fabrizo a message that he at least acknowledged.

All I'm trying to do is comply with the law! This is yet another perfect example of government not working.

Erie Reader: Vol. 6, No. 21
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