The only document that meets the bill's requirement for proof of citizenship is a passport. According to the State Department, only 25 percent of Americans over age 18 have a passport. Passports can cost as much as $100. In order to get a passport, you need your birth certificate. Do you know where your birth certificate is? Many would probably have to pay for a replacement copy of their birth certificate so they could get a passport. At least another $20.
Let's face it: HR 4844 is the equivalent of a poll tax since voters would have to pay for a passport to prove their citizenship in order to vote. So we are left then to wonder why the need for this reckless law that will actually discourage, confuse and discriminate against voters.
If passed, this onerous bill would prevent many eligible voters from exercising their right to vote, disproportionately affecting people of color, the elderly, individuals with disabilities, rural and Native American voters, the homeless, low-income people and married women, who studies show to be less likely to carry a photo ID.
I've been reading discussion about this bill on various blogs, and it's just infuriating how many people really have no perspective on how "the other half" lives. Several people, while trying to point out how easy it is to get ID, have mentioned that a high school yearbook can be used as photographic proof to go along with a birth certificate.
How many of the folks my agency serves spent a whole school year in a typical high school that would have put out a yearbook? Maybe 15. How many of them were living with caretakers at the time who would have had the money and cared enough to purchase them a yearbook? Maybe 4 out of the 15. How many of these people would still have the yearbook and wouldn't have lost it while hospitalized or homeless? Of all of the people with disabilities whom we serve, I can think of maybe 2 people who would have a high school yearbook in their possession today.
No, it isn't the only way to prove identity, but it infuriates me that so many people assume that since they have a high school yearbook, most people have one. Yearbooks aside, most of our folks don't have any form of ID. Most don't drive, most don't have bank accounts, most don't cash their own checks. A lot can't locate their birth certificate or any family members. And they certainly don't have $100 for a passport if they did find these things.
This isn't about homeland security. This is about discouraging voters who don't align with Republican ideas.