Centenarians in India enduring long lines in the hot sun. A veiled woman proudly holding up the index finger marked with election ink. Voters of Afghanistan going to the polls defying threats from suicide bombers. These are examples of how precious, powerful and patriotic the act of voting is. The first time I voted in India and in the United States remain fond memories. Corny as it sounds, on both occasions I felt like a brave soldier going off to war or returning victorious from one as I exited the polling station. However, the marching soldier in me was in for some election disenchantment soon. In the November 2018 elections, like many in the U.S.A, I was inspired to do more than cast my vote by mail. I signed up to be an election volunteer. This included a five hour training which I completed online. One part of that training clearly instructed volunteers that voters should not be asked for any identification. Intrigued, I read up and found out that only six states in the U.S. require a strict photo-id. Seventeen require no documentation at all. The rest have varying requirements, most accepting a non-photo id. Googling the topic showed that illegal immigrants/aliens have the right to vote in local elections and school board elections in some cities and towns. In the case of San Francisco, the illegal immigrants are further accorded the courtesy of a warning in many languages -- the information they provide for voting can be made available to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). So, not only are illegal aliens allowed to vote but efforts are made to ensure that they do not get into legal trouble doing so. Might as well just make them legal citizens as they leave the polling booth having completed the most honorable of civic duties. I don’t get it. Why should illegal aliens have the right to vote? Paying taxes, having children in public schools, being law abiding residents, having lived in a city for years, willing to work in low-paying jobs -- none seem sufficient reason for illegal aliens to gain the precious right of voting. Emergency health care, free public school education and essential services should be available to all people living in a city no matter what their legal status. But, the right to vote should be earned by going through the steps needed to legalize status. I still recall the first time I voted in the U.S. and walked out of the polling station placing an "I voted" sticker in a prominent spot on my jacket. The magical feeling I always associated with voting ended when I signed up to volunteer on election day in 2018. It was very disillusioning for me to read instructions in the online volunteer training that said: "If a voter presents an id, politely and firmly refuse to look at it." My reaction to that directive was decidedly unladylike. I was half glad that I fell sick the day before the elections and did not have to go put in a 15 hour volunteer day while questioning the very fundamentals of voting. I guess a vote is precious but the right to vote not so. .