You got ID, sister?
As Stephanie Mencimer points out, maybe I shouldn't complain about getting carded at CVS for my allergy meds. After all, the plight of people who could be negatively affected by the recent Supreme Court case upholding Indiana's voter ID law (Crawford v. Marion County Election Board) is really nothing to sneeze at.
Okay, that was a bit cheesy.
But my point is that access to the ballot is just as important as access to the courts, and this recent Supreme Court decision may make it more difficult for elderly and poor Indiana voters to vote if they don't have i.d.'s and face significant difficulties obtaining one.
Need proof? Well, the Court didn't get any. Proponents of the Voter ID law claimed the law would prevent voter fraud but could not find one instance of voter fraud; opponents to the law also failed to provide proof that people would be prevented from voting as a result of the law.
But yesterday's primary election fills that evidentiary gap with a human interest story compelling enough to be summed up in two words: elderly nuns. Elderly nuns, for God's--please excuse me--for Goodness sakes, were turned away because they did not have updated identification. From the article:
About 12 Indiana nuns were turned away Tuesday from a polling place by a fellow bride of Christ because they didn't have state or federal identification bearing a photograph.
Sister Julie McGuire said she was forced to turn away her fellow sisters at Saint Mary's Convent in South Bend, across the street from the University of Notre Dame, because they had been told earlier that they would need such an ID to vote.
The nuns, all in their 80s or 90s, didn't get one but came to the precinct anyway.
Regressive court rulings and terrible judicial appointments illuminate the importance of being able to elect the right representatives and pass the right laws. This, obviously, requires that people be able to actually cast their ballot.
For some great opinions on the Supreme Court decision, go here (subscription may be required).