Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee: these are the states perpetuating the greatest civil rights violation of our time, and no, I’m not talking about Chick-Fil-A. In those states, with possibly South Carolina and Texas joining them, voters this November will be turned away from the polls if they’re unable to produce a valid driver’s license or other form of state ID. Republicans claim the new laws have something to do with voter fraud, a crime more rare than a shiny Chansey. Some observant members of the blogosphere (aka, anyone with eyes and common sense) have suggested that the laws have a more heinous intent: blocking poor people, many of whom are black and Latin@, from casting their votes. These groups overwhelmingly vote for Democrats in Presidential elections, with one figure recently citing Mitt Romney polling with a whopping 0% of the black vote. Of course, there’s a margin of error of like 2-3%, but it’s safe to say that roughly zero black people in America not named “Uncle something” are planning to vote for Mitt Romney.
Let’s call these laws what they are. They’re a poll tax. Poll taxes have been outlawed in the United States for decades, as their only purpose is to discourage poor people from voting. Just because you move the tax from the polling location to the DMV, doesn’t mean it somehow becomes legal. As long as licenses cost money, and as long as you need a license to vote, you’re preventing people with less money from participating in the basic function of a Democracy. It’s classist. It’s racist. It’s disgusting.
I think we can balance it out though. We just have to appeal to the most efficient and understanding organization in the government: state departments of motor vehicles. Who’s more flexible and helpful than your local DMV? Sure, if you need to get a new license or register a vehicle, the DMV is happy to not assist you in any way at all, but what I’m suggesting would actually appeal to their employees’ sense of patriotism, general dissent, and unrelenting laziness. From now until November, all drivers licenses should be free.
Now, before you misunderstand me, I don’t mean that anyone should just be able to waltz down to a DMV and get a license just by asking nicely. No, you should still have to take the test and do your parallel parking, three point turns, and whatever else you have to do these days to legally get behind the wheel of a car. I’m just saying that at the end of that, you shouldn’t have to pay a dime to get your license. This isn’t socialism either. It’s just a way to make sure everyone who can vote will be able to. The pretend voter fraud will still be eliminated and poor people will still be able to elect Barack Obama to his second term as President of the United States. Everyone’s happy, except for Mitt Romney and his little brother Paul Ryan.
We need to contact state DMV’s and state officials and let them know that this program isn’t really optional. Again, poll taxes are illegal, so until drivers licenses are free in these states, these voter ID laws are unconstitutional. Make no doubt about it, as of right now, it technically illegal to have to pay for a driver’s license in Georgia, Indian, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, or Tennessee, so call them up and let them know. Seriously. Flood their offices with calls. If there’s one thing DMV workers love, it’s talking on the phone, but they’re bashful sometimes, so if they pretend like they don’t want to talk, just call them again until you get through.
- Georgia Department of Driver Services - (404) 657-9300
- Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles – (888) 692-6841
- Kansas Division of Motor Vehicles – (785) 296-3963
- Mississippi Department of Driver Services – Email LWilson@dps.ms.gov and ask them for their phone number.
- Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Driver and Vehicle Services - 1-800-932-4600
- Tennessee Department of Driver Services - (615) 253-5221
Together, we can reverse this discriminatory law, and irritate the piss out of a bunch of salty DMV workers. It’s a win win. It’s the American Dream.