House Bill makes voting difficult

Amanda Belcher and Amanda Belcher

Once again, look who is being oppressed; what a surprise, the voter.

One can’t go a day without hearing frustration over voter turnout from both sides of the political spectrum. So now, our bright idea to bring them out on Election Day is to make it harder!

Ohio House Bill 3, as enacted January 31, 2006, has brought the voter restrictions to an all-time high, greatly surpassing those of most other states. The best part is, they’ve made it so confusing, that even the nerds that shove voter registration forms in your face, such as myself don’t understand it!

Okay, let me give you a little breakdown. Here’s what HB 3 says:

You must provide photo ID issued by the U.S. or Ohio government at the polls. This includes only a driver’s license, photo ID also issued by the DMV, military ID, and well, that’s all. If you don’t have an ID you may also provide a utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document. All of these documents must have an address that matches the address you’re currently registered at.

Nope, your BGSU ID doesn’t count.

So who does this place the bull’s-eye on? Minorities and college students of course. What would America be without more oppression of minorities? If there was a day when the issues important to a college student were addressed, I might pass out.

The group least likely to have the funds as well as the transportation to obtain a driver’s license or other photo ID is minorities. Minorities are also the least likely to vote on Election Day. Well, I’ll say it; two wrongs don’t make a right.

College students are not only more likely to move around, because they are pretty much forced to every year, but their ID most certainly matches their address at home, not here. Those who live in dorms don’t receive utility bills so they have no way to prove they live in BG. College students are also one of the least likely groups to vote. Three wrongs don’t make a right either.

According to the League of Women Voters, persons with disabilities could previously make any mark when signing a petition or other election document. HB 3 states that if these marks are contested by precinct election officials the “attorney in fact” must sign for the individual. The validity of that signature on behalf of the voter must be in accordance with section 3501.382 of the Revised Code.

Now they’re comin’ after me.

The only individuals allowed to challenge voters under HB 3 are precinct officials and judge of elections. That means that those that are allowed to register individuals to vote are now limited to these few people. This means those nerds I spoke of before can’t register you anymore. It’s a felony to register someone without holding one of these positions, and felons aren’t allowed to vote either.

To make your voting experience easier, many of you may have been encouraged to change your address for this past election. Many of you were also forced to vote provisionally. Now, if you cannot provide proper identification of a matching address you can give the last four digits of your social security number. If it doesn’t match it may get thrown out.

They don’t count those anyway, who am I kidding?

As far as your change of address, I would work on scrounging up identification that proves you actually live there.

So what is wrong with House Bill three? Everything. It targets minorities, college students, persons with disabilities, and well, democrats. By making the task more difficult we are hindering those who already have costs to vote by increasing those costs. We are making it harder for these individuals to vote so it’s easier for the next conservative to win.

We are asking a low income family to find and pay for transportation to the DMV and to pay $20 – $35 for the ID to simply participate in democracy. We are asking the disabled to provide an “attorney in fact” to simply participate in democracy. We are telling activists to stop registering people to vote because we don’t want them participating in democracy.

The bill was supposedly written to suppress voter fraud throughout the state, yet the only cases of voter fraud lie within our Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell. By the way, he’s now running for governor, so don’t vote for him.

That is if you are even able to vote.

Send comments to Amanda at [email protected].