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Dear America, If My Vote Is Precious

Discussion in 'News & Politics' started by Rihana, Jun 5, 2019.

  1. Rihana

    Rihana Finest Post Winner

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    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.
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  2. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    @Rihana,

    Polling locations are the last place of entry in a ballot system. More fundamental question is how their name find a place in the voters' list? When we all register to vote, don't they ask a question whether we are a citizen or not? What do they fill in? Don't they ask for birth certificate or passport to validate the citizenship? If someone is born in the US even if their parents enter illegally, as per current law, it is my understanding that child is a US citizen and has a right to vote when he or she turns 18. But can illegal entrant, unless they declare themselves as a citizen which in my view is a felony, register themselves unless they have a US birth certificate or a passport?
     
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  3. Rihana

    Rihana Finest Post Winner

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    Illegal immigrants casting their vote for POTUS or other federal offices is a crime. States and local government agencies can set their own rules. When an illegal immigrant goes to the polling booth, he has to be careful not to mark the federal parts of the ballot. IIRC, they are not given a separate ballot with the federal election parts removed.
     
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  4. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    In other words, some states are facilitating federal crime. Even when they check ID, they accept driving license. Driving license is not an evidence of citizenship. It only proves the names in the voters' list matched with the person present in the pooling location. May be every one should bring their US birth certificate, passport or naturalization certificate.
     
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  5. Rihana

    Rihana Finest Post Winner

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    Not exactly. States and local municipalities have the right to set rules on who can vote in their elections. They can also allow illegal immigrants to vote. Legal foreign residents (not U.S. citizens) having the right to vote has been practiced in some states over the past two centuries.

    Placing such a burden is considered unlawful and discriminatory by groups like the ACLU. The argument is that it makes certain sections of voters less likely to register and vote. That is the main thing I could not understand. If the largest democracy in the world, India, can conduct elections with strict id requirement, why can't the U.S. figure out a way of doing that without discriminating or causing unfair hardship to minorities or poorer voters.

    If I am reading your responses right, you are saying that only U.S. citizens (by birth or naturalization) should have the right to vote in any election. That is what my simple mind also thinks. I just cannot wrap my head around an illegal immigrant having the right to vote in any election (even local school board elections). Foreigners who are legal residents being allowed to vote in some local elections and have a say in local policies because they are paying taxes etc., is understandable.
     
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  6. Amulet

    Amulet IL Hall of Fame

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    Chatter and Banter.....politics in North America seems to be a rather active thread. For Americans who are away 183+ days and sometimes find themselves having to vote (only for federal slots) by mail, Rihana's post is a very relevant pointer.

    I would like a national ID card, or a very difficult to copy (and steal) identification system for personal data in the possession of US Treasury and other federal agencies. I even have my photo on the Visa credit card !!

    Would people object to carrying a "barcode" on their persons (was suggested by Chris Christy during the election campaign) or something like that ? Police officer scans a car from 5 meters away and detects no guns, therefore there is no need to come up to the driver's side window and shoot up the well-tanned person who is at the wheel. Or....police round up some well-tanned people, and they all have accented speech. They scan them with the legal presence detector, which detects their legal presence in the USA. And voila! The one's who check out OK are released into the wild in America. Why isn't technology helping out ?
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2019

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