Sunday, October 02, 2005

Addendum: Georgia Voter ID law caused no issues

In my last post I wrote about the lawsuit filed to challenge Georgia's new voter ID law. Almost immediately after posting that one, I ran into a link that took me to the Augusta Chronicle of Augusta, GA. Their story talks about the new law in application during their recent special election there.

::::::::It took about as much time for Audrena Dixon to vote during Tuesday's special election as it did for her to back out of her precinct's parking lot at Gilbert Lambert Chapel afterwards.

The Augustan checked in, cast her ballot for District 22 state senator, and was back outside within five minutes.

"I had no problems at all," she said while leaving the Paine College building.

Tuesday marked the first election in Richmond County in which voters were required to show government-issued photo IDs, and most citizens had smooth experiences like Ms. Dixon, said Richmond County's Board of Elections Director Lynn Bailey.

"We were concerned about the voter ID law issue, as we are with any change to the voting procedure," she said. "But it turned out to be a non-issue. As far as calls to our office or complaints, there really just haven't been any."

An Augusta resident made an interesting suggestion:

::::::::Augustan Reuben Kessler, too, said the voter ID law was no sweat for him, considering he's always provided his license as proof.

Mr. Kessler said he believes requiring all voters show a specific picture ID is "not a bad thing;" it would just help if there were more ways for residents who lived far from a Georgia Department of Driver Services office to get the proper ID.

"Access doesn't have to be a real big deal," he said. "They should make it more convenient for people with no way to get there. Any time there's a voter registration drive, there should be an ID drive set up as well."

Now there's an idea. How about a mobile unit, sort of like a library's "bookmobile" thing? Get your average metro-style bus and tear out most of the seats. Set up a small desk near the front where people walk onto the bus to handle the paperwork and collect funds. Once the folks are done with the administrative stuff, pass them by a chair with a digital camera in front of it. Take their picture and have them pass to the rear where, maybe, you've still got some seats set up. Their ID gets processed, laminated, and handed over. Our company's HR department has the gear sitting in one of their offices at each company location and one of the HR/Security people does the job. When I came on board with my company, the process took all of 15 minutes, and I was handling other issues than just the ID while I was there. The portrait studio at Sears has a setup just like what I'm talking about for passport photos. They processed them in less than 5 minutes and that was for 2 poses and image adjustment before printing.

We can even handle Jimmy Carter's concern for the elderly by driving that bus to every retirement community in Georgia and processing ID's for those folks who don't have them. I'm sure the citizens of Georgia could spring for those ID's out of their general funds if they were asked nicely.

The law does work. There are rough edges that can be made smoother but the basis of the law is not the problem those who filed the suit would have you believe it is.