galloglas (1000+ posts)
Wed Aug-06-08 08:28 AM
Response to Original message
163. Galloglas Update: Out of Jail, and ready to answer all questions:
I will try to be as brief as possible with the description of my day as I can manage. But, since there are some sticky points, I will also try to be clear and complete. If anyone finds questions still hanging after reading this entry, and the comments already made above in response to Proud2Blib's post, I will gladly answer.
I, Galloglas, went to vote today and encountered difficuly. And, it is important to point out that this was not the first time I've run onto problems this year.
When I voted in Missouri's Presidential primary in February, 2008, I took the proper identification to my precinct and attempted to cast my ballot. The identification requirements are spelled out graphically on our Secretary of State's Web Site which can be found at http://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/voterid
And, as I am of the belief that the "Voter Fraud" question is exclusively a creature of the GOP's making (a grudging tip of my hat to the GOP's odious "Thor" Hearne for fathering, with Karl Rove, this abominable scheme), and that the entire "Voter Fraud" issue is nothing more than a smokescreen to encourage the various state's to pass Photo Voter ID Laws, I always choose to use whatever acceptable identification is furthest from that which the GOP would mandate if Missouri did have Photo Voter ID laws.
That said, I point out that Missouri's Legislature did pass SB 1014 in 2006, mandating Photo Voter ID. But SB 1014 was ruled unconstitutional in October, 2006. Similarly, in May 2008, the legislature made another attempt to enact the legislation, but it died in committee. Consequently, Missouri has no Photo Voter ID law and the SoS voter ID requirements (above) are the prevailing law of our state.
In February, 2008, when I went to my precinct to cast my Presidential primary ballot, I walked in and was asked for my driver's license. I said, "Sorry. Here is my election authority ID instead. I wish to use that as my ID."
The judge said, "Look. Show me your Driver's license, or you don't vote!". To which I replied, "Look. If you want my driver's license to let me vote, we got a problem?" And the election judge replied, "Oh, no! I gotta see you picture ID or I won't know who you are."
To shorten this February episode, let it be known that A) since I had not seen this particular election judge before, and B) he seemed challenged either by lack of intellect or lack of proper training, I simply told him "call the Election Board office and ask them. You simply can't require that." This gentleman refused to do so, telling me that "if you do not like it, you can just leave!"
I replied, "OK, partner, I'll show my driver's license to you... but only under protest... and I will file a complaint with the Election Board. "You go right ahead!" he replied.
And I did. But, as one might expect, no report was ever prepared by the Election Board and when I inquired about its status in May, 2008, the bipartisan heads of the offices claimed no knowledge of it. When shown the status trail, proving the existence of the complaint, I was finally told "Well, it must have gotten lost.We have had some problems with temps and their paper work this year."
So, with the August primaries coming up, I wanted to insure no repeat of February's problems, and I made a call to my local election board (Eastern Jackson County, Missouri, Election Board), speaking to the GOP appointee, one Charlene Davis.
I recounted the events of February to her on the phone and asked, "Do you agree that the ID requirements for casting a vote in Missouri, as recounted on the SoS's web site, are the official and proper IDs? That these are the acceptable forms of ID? And that they must be accepted by the precinct personnel?"
She then replied that sometimes a person might not be asked for an ID if the judges readily recognized the voter. Pressed on the matter, she replied, "Yes. If they ask for ID, the SoS's page governs what is acceptable." I pressed further, "So, Charlene, if I come in with my precinct issued ID, or a utility bill, or my bank statement, there will no more requests for a Photo ID?"
Charlene Davis answered with the usual CYA statement about training poll workers, poll workers working long hours, mixups in communications,etc. So I asked this, "Well, since we've agreed as to what it should be, then I can just call you if there are any mixups and you wil set them straight?" "Yes, just call me." she replied.
So this morning I walked into my precinct at about 9:45AM, along with my son. Both of us were carrying Precinct issued voter cards, bank statements and utility statements, all of which are acceptable forms of ID in Missouri. The precinct is in the basement of a church and there are two precincts there: 08A and 08C. As I walked in, there were a total of six persons. Three for each precinct.
The first person who spied us was a lady, who asked "Do you want to vote?" "Yep", I replied. "I'll need to see your ID", she said, and I handed her the precinct-issued ID cards. She picked it up, glanced at it and said, "I'll need to see your something with your signature on it."
"Uh... I don't think so. What I gave you is valid ID."
"No,", she replied, "I need to see something with your signature on it, otherwise I won't know who you are." And that gave me a bad feeling.
So I said, "Uh, Ma'am, that Precinct ID card tells you who I am. It came to my mailbox last week, so that the Election Authority knows I still live there. If you want to see my signature, you can look at it as soon as I seen the Poll Book."
The judge was a bit flustered, all the other judges started looking at my son and I, and then she said., "Oh. This is the wrong line anyway. Step to that table for precinct 08A." And my son and I picked up our papers and moved to the other line where there were three male judges.
The first judge was named Leroy (he would tell em his last name) and he asked for our IDs and was handed the precinct-issued cards. He left them sitting on the table and said, "You need to show me IDs with your signatures on it!", in rough, angry tone.
I replied, "No sir, I do not." and handed him a computer copy of the SoS's web page, printed from this location. http://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/voterid
/ The judge did not even look at it, instead standing straight up from his chair, raising his voice loudly, and said, "If you don't want to vote, there is the door, and you can leave now!"
My reply was, "Sir, we do want to vote. My son and I have both brought the proper ID, and the Sos"s sheet verifies that. Now, if you are refusing to let us vote, please tell us why." And the reply was, "I need to see your signature!"
(Now bear in mind, the next step in the voting is to actually sign the Poll Book, at which time judges can look at my signature all they want. But what was being demanded was some ID which was already signed. Then it dawned on me that many people would only have signatures on some government-issued IDs, such as Driver's Licenses.
Compliance with such demands would result in voters having to show Photo Voter IDs without even the need of the GOP-controlled Missouri Legislature having to pass another Photo Voter ID Act. In effect, causing Missouri voters to comply with conditions which had been declared unconstitutional in 2006!)
With the sudden realization of what was probably happening,I had to make a decision. Glancing around the room, I realized that I had seen all of these election judges at past elections. What was the likelihood of them all being untrained, or them all having forgotten what the rules were in the prior election. I calculated the odds were long.
I turned back to Leroy and replied, "Leroy, my son and I want to vote. We brought what was required of us. I am holding the SoS's web page n my left hand. If you will not look at it, or read it, please call Charlene Davis at the Eastern Jackson County Election Board, or call the SoS's office to find out what you are supposed to do. Because we want to vote."
We were then told, "You can either give me what I told you to, or you can just get out that door and find someplace else to vote!" (as he stood towering above my son and I). I looked him in the eye and said, "Leroy, Nope! We will not leave until you give us our rights. We've a right to vote!"
Leroy leaned over the table and shouted, "Not unless you follow our rules here!" To which I replied, "Your rules do not trump the laws of this state! Please read them!This ID card (the precinct-issued card) is all I need. And slapped the card down on the table in front of him. "this is all that is required."