Now I remember what was on CNN last evening when I went to Friday's. It was a poll to see whether or not people believed it was unconstitutional for polling workers to ask for ID when people go to vote.
Well you should know that this is one of those long lingering boogie men that haunt the minds of your more loopy civil libertarians - that it echoes of the racist discrimination of the Jim Crow South. Now there was some constitutional amendment, I think, or other such federal case that was made out of this matter, and it had gone to the back burner, rather like interracial marriage. But of course like interracial marriage, some people just never get over their poor home training.
Now I don't know much about the average level of self-esteem in the average African American but I've seen paranoia in action. Don't laugh. It's a sobering thing. I've also seen racial profiling up close and personal. In fact, I've experienced my share. So believe me when I tell you that it is not far from consideration that the very idea of being asked for ID at a voting booth is liable to move people into diatribe mode about setting the race back to slavery days. With any luck, my lighting rod will pick up such very arguments. (If not I'll google a blog or two and trackback).
If I were a Baptist preacher in Los Angeles, I would offer the following sermon:
You know I'm right.
On a more serious note, I'm very interested in the future of identity maintenance and authentication systems, and I'm very curious to see how this debate plays out. I believe that if people take voting seriously, then they should take ID seriously and they should take fraud seriously. A government issued ID is something that can be done well, and it should be done easily. There are people with high school educations loitering all over the shopping malls, bank lobbies and airports of our great nation, offering credit card applications. We know the massive infrastructure behind that and we know how easy it is to obtain debit cards and all sorts of prepaid electronic IDs. A government voting ID should be just as easy to get, OK maybe a little bit more difficult, but easier than a driver's license.
All of this identification is going to have to take place sooner or later. I know that people are going to wait until it's terrorism or identity theft that forces them into it. But the fact that next generation ID is a good idea is self-evident to me. It's all a matter of good implementation.