Picture Perfect – What Is the Answer to the Problem of Photo IDs?

Why not fix the Texas photo ID problem?  Why use the problem to prevent the real solution to the problem?

I suggest that those who object should harness the energy and money they are spending in opposition to get the photo IDs in the hands of these voters.

An estimated, $13.3 million plus the efforts of concerned volunteers could get the job done. I am sure the interested parties could manage to raise the money to enfranchise the voters about whose rights they are so deeply concerned.  If election time approaches before all the voters get their IDs, they can request and submit absentee ballots without meeting the photo ID requirement.

The Attorney General of Texas submitted data to the U. S. Department of Justice showing that 605,000 eligible Texas voters may not have qualified photo IDs.

In federal court, the Department of Justice asserts that a disproportionate number of these voters are Hispanic & members of racial minorities; they claim that the photo ID requirement places “significant burdens” on minority voters, in violation of the Voting Rights Act.

Texas counters that photo IDs are available free of charge, and that anyone who does not have an ID with them on election day can vote via provisional ballot, and return within a few days after the election with the ID to validate their vote.

Opponents to the requirements point to the costs of transportation to the DPS driver’s license office and the possible costs of providing proof of identity, (requirements are the same as for a driver’s license,) which could include $22 to get a certified copy of their Texas birth certificate.

http://mediamatters.org/blog/2012/03/14/fox-ignores-significant-costs-that-come-with-fr/184318

Even if every one of the 605,000 “photo-less” voters had to get a birth certificate, the total cost would be $13.3 million at $22 each.

Acceptable identification documents include:

  1. One piece of “Primary Identification,” OR
  2. Two pieces of “Secondary Identification,” OR
  3. One piece of “Secondary Identification” plus two pieces of “Supporting Identification.”

http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/DriverLicense/identificationrequirements.htm

For non-drivers, a certified copy of a birth certificate costs $22 dollars from the state of Texas; (other states charge various rates for certified copies in the range of $28 – 72.)

http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/vs/reqproc/certified_copy.shtm

As with driver’s licenses, holders of the Texas election identification card must get a replacement card when they move to a new residence, and must renew the card every 6 years for $16.

These requirements are no more onerous than requirements for a US passport.

http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/first/first_830.html#step4first

Federal Requirements for State Issued IDs

Ironically, the Federal Government enacted the REAL ID Act in 2005 with these requirements for state driver’s licenses.

“Documentation required before issuing a license or ID card

Before a card can be issued, the applicant must provide the following documentation: [20]

  • A photo ID or a non-photo ID that includes full legal name and birthdate.
  • Documentation of birth date.
  • Documentation of legal status and Social Security number
  • Documentation showing name and principal residence address.

Digital images of each identity document will be stored in each state DMV database.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/REAL_ID_Act

Summary of the New Law Compared to the Previous Law:

Texas

Election Code §63.001 et seq.

NOTE:  TX’s new photo ID law takes effect after preclearance by the USDOJ. Pre-clearance was denied on March 13, 2012, and the state is expected to apply for reconsideration from the Federal District Court of Washington, D.C.

Existing law:

On offering to vote, a voter must present the voter’s voter registration certificate to an election officer at the polling place.

New law:

On offering to vote, a voter must present to an election officer at the polling place one form of identification.

Existing law:

Voter registration certificate

  • Driver’s license
  • Department of Public Safety ID card
  • A form of ID containing the person’s photo that establishes the person’s identity
  • A birth certificate or other document confirming birth that is admissible in a court of law and establishes the person’s identity
  • U.S. citizenship papers
  • A U.S. passport
  • Official mail addressed to the person, by name, from a governmental entity
  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the person’s name and address
  • Any other form of ID prescribed by the secretary of state

New law:

  • Driver’s license
  • Election identification certificate
  • Dept. of Public Safety personal ID card
  • U.S. military ID
  • U.S. citizenship certificate
  • U.S. passport
  • License to carry a concealed handgun issued by the Dept. of Public Safety

All of the above must include a photo of the voter. With the exception of the certificate of citizenship, these forms of ID cannot be expired, or cannot have expired more than 60 days before the election.

Existing law:

A voter who does not present a voter registration certificate when offering to vote, but whose name is on the list of registered voters for the precinct in which the voter is offering to vote, shall be accepted for voting if the voter executes an affidavit stating that the voter does not have the voter’s voter registration certificate in the voter’s possession and the voter presents other proof of identification. A voter who does not present a voter registration certificate and cannot present other identification may vote a provisional ballot. A voter who does not present a voter registration certificate and whose name is not on the list of registered voters may vote a provisional ballot.

New law:

A voter who fails to present the required identification may cast a provisional ballot.  The voter must present, not later than the sixth day after the date of the election, the required form of identification to the voter registrar for examination OR the voter may execute, in the presence of the voter registrar, an affidavit under penalty of perjury stating that the voter has a religious objection to being photographed or that the voter does not have identification as a result of a natural disaster declared by the president or the governor which occurred not earlier than 45 days before the date the ballot was cast.

http://www.ncsl.org/legislatures-elections/elections/voter-id.aspx

Words Control Your Future – Are You a Person of Your Word?

Don Miguel Ruiz offers us five agreements we can make with ourselves to live a wonderful life.  He chose his first agreement wisely:

“Be Impeccable With Your Word.

  • Speak with integrity.
  • Say only what you mean.
  • Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others.
  • Use the power of your word in the direction of truth & love.”

Three questions:

1.  What does he mean by “impeccable,” “integrity,” “what you mean,” “speak against yourself,” “gossip,” “power,” “truth,” & “love?”

“Impeccable” can mean perfect, or guiltless, or unconditional, among other things.  The clues to Don Miguel Ruiz’s meaning are in the four examples he gives.  But that leaves us with even more words to define before we can grasp what he means well enough to fulfill the agreement.

“Integrity” can mean being consistent, honest, or ethical, for example.

“Say only what you mean” could mean tell the truth, reveal your motives, or stick to meaningful topics

The awkward phrases, “Avoid using the word.”  & “to speak against yourself,” do not sound like familiar, casual expressions.

What constitutes “gossip about others?”

What is “the power of your word?”

Which is the “direction of truth & love?”

You know the intention of the agreement, so choose the definitions that work best for you.

2.  What can you do to achieve all that this agreement implies?

What models & methods could you use to achieve consistently ethical, meaningful, positive, powerful, directed, truthful, loving language?  How can you know when you are successful?

3.  What can you expect from keeping this agreement?

What are the prices you would pay, & the rewards you would receive from living by this agreement?

Early in human development, our forebears discovered the power of drawn symbols, common gestures, & eventually words.  This was the power that led to the ascent of man & the achievements of our race.  Words were few & sometimes sacred or taboo.  Drawing the symbols, making the gestures, or saying the words were thought to conjure & manifest the ideas into physical existence.  The Bible describes God like this: “In the beginning there was the Word & the Word was with God & the Word was God.”  That is how people regarded words.

We have developed extensive vocabularies, abstractions, metaphors, & nuances of meaning.  We can explore & express the highest ideals & the most intimate feelings with our words.  But do we?

Have you lost touch with how powerful & important language is among humans?  Do you let your state of mind, cause you to blithely misuse language to boast, exaggerate, lie, blame, divert, deceive, deny, intimidate, & demean others & yourself?

Do you  squander your power when you talk on & on about whatever comes to mind, including fictional people, games, & many other things that dilute & weaken the power of your words?  Does the phrase, “wasting your time,” ring a bell?

Your life depends on your words.  Think of how what you say affects your world.  The fates of your families, communities, & nations depend on what & how you communicate.  Most of all, your words & how you use them shape the image you have of yourself.  Do you ever feel powerless?  Have your words limited & trapped you into pretending to be what others expect?  Have your words shaped the ways other people treat & trust you?  Are you so anxious about who you really are that you talk about other people to feel good & distract attention away from yourself?  Are you so far from being your true self that your life is not yours to live & enjoy?

Words can also work wonders in your life.  You can learn, & dream, & love out of your words.  You can achieve great things, have fun, find a life mate, do marvelous good deeds, build deep lasting friendships when you use your words powerfully, truthfully, & lovingly.

Suppose you choose to make this first agreement with yourself, what then?  What exactly should you do?  How will you know you have it right?

Clearly the answer lies within you.  You can look at what others have done & the results they have gotten, or use trial & error until you find the ways that work for you.

Here is one way to learn to be impeccable with your word.

Look at the list of things to achieve.  Start today with the easiest thing on the list for you.  Which of the elements can you do starting right now?  Stop putting yourself down?  Stay out of conversations involving gossip?  Do not pretend to agree with things when you do not?  Think & speak honestly, generously & considerately?   Save your words for real communications & intimacy?  Tell the people you love that you love them?   Pick one, & try it out.

If you work best with partners, choose a partner & make a game out of following the rules you set for yourselves.  When you are satisfied with your new habits, choose the next easiest area.  One by one, work on the parts of this vital, foundation agreement with yourself.

What can you expect?  What do you think?