Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Congress Passes Poll Tax

As we get closer and closer to Election Day, thoughts turn to getting the willing and not-so-willing voters to the polls. And then, what does the Republican-dominated House do?

They passed a poll tax.

Well, that’s what I call it.

In 2008, in order to register to vote, you must show proof of citizenship.

What is proof of citizenship?

1) A birth certificate
2) A certificate of naturalization
3) A US passport
4) Any document that requires any of the above before you can get it.

Here in Texas, all you have to do is have a valid driver’s license or an ID card issued by the DPS, and you get to fill out a voter registration form. The idea is to make it as easy as possible for people to vote so there is nothing standing in their way on Election Day.

It’s hard enough getting people to vote. Why put up a barrier?

Is it because Democrats are less likely to have proof of citizenship than Republicans? Poor people have trouble enough getting the light bill paid. Getting up the $35 scratch it takes to get a copy of their birth certificate is just about the last thing on their list of things to spend their money on. Elderly people on fixed incomes are in a similar bind. And what about people who would vote, could vote, but don’t want to show their personal and private documents for some reason? And what is the chance that all of these are what they are, and also Democrats?

Yes, in the guise of taking a tougher stance on immigrants and creating “safe ballots” (whatever that is), your government has passed a bill designed to disenfranchise the poor, the elderly, and people with poor record-keeping skills.

This creates an unreasonable financial hardship on people as a precondition to exercise their franchise. Here is the text of the US Code that addresses Poll Taxes.


§ 1973h. Poll taxes

(a) Congressional finding and declaration of policy against enforced payment of poll taxes as a device to impair voting rights
The Congress finds that the requirement of the payment of a poll tax as a precondition to voting

(i) precludes persons of limited means from voting or imposes unreasonable financial hardship upon such persons as a precondition to their exercise of the

(ii) does not bear a reasonable relationship to any legitimate State interest in the conduct of elections, and

(iii) in some areas has the purpose or effect of denying persons the right to vote because of race or color. Upon the basis of these findings, Congress declares that the constitutional right of citizens to vote is denied or abridged in some areas by the requirement of the payment of a poll tax as a precondition to voting.

The only way they are going to make this fly is to ban any government fee to produce documentation of citizenship. It all has to be free, otherwise it is a poll tax.

Depend on Republicans to act more and more poorly as we get closer and closer to the day when we all get to show them the door.


muse said...

Did this just happen? Yuk.

Hal said...

Yes, just today. I was amazed that it was ignored in the "sphere". It's either that or there is some other Washington Post with a website.

I can't believe that it will be allowed to stand it is so antithetical to the law of the land. If it becomes law, it will hopefully be the first law that gets rescinded, if that's the word, by our next Democratic majority House and Senate.

Game playing is over boys. Come to the table and let's deal.