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Archive for Monday, April 15, 2013

Letter: Misplaced anger

April 15, 2013

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To the editor:

This is a response to “Offended voter” (Public forum, April 11). Your letter undeservedly laid into an “officious woman protecting us from voter fraud,” who was working the polls when you went to vote. You continue to relate how she asked for your photo ID before you could vote. Then, when you obviously didn’t provide one, she required you to vote provisionally. Note, she did not deny you the right to vote. I know she explained the provisional voting process to you and what you would need to do to follow through. You further relate just how upset you were when the County Clerk’s Office called to remind you to come downtown and provide a picture ID in order for your vote to be counted.

Further into your letter you complain about Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s law and its blatant attempt at voter suppression, which was obviously the real focus of your letter. If that were, in fact, the case, then why did you attack the poll worker and the county clerk for following the law — as they are required to do? If you want the law changed then start campaigning for a change in the law.

I probably agree with you about most of Kobach’s actions, but I find your attack on those required to follow the law unjustified.

A question I saw asked online deserves repeating. Did you go to the County Clerk’s Office and present your ID? If you didn’t, your protest was fruitless as all you did was deny yourself the right to vote.

Comments

Catalano 1 year, 5 months ago

Well said, Mr. Reed. All salient points were covered. I still wonder if she voted in November as that was the first election requiring Voter ID. And, for the record, I find it unimaginable that our County Clerk would allow "officious" behavior from any poll worker.

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Leslie Swearingen 1 year, 5 months ago

I agree with you Catalano, but in this case i think she meant the woman was acting in an official capacity, which she was, nothing wrong there.

The letter writer chose to put herself and her thoughts in the public sphere. In the old days comments would have been quite interesting.

Maybe there is a reason why the woman has the attitude that, "Surely, that rule, or that law, does not apply to me."

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jgalas 1 year, 5 months ago

I wrote the letter to which Mr. Reed gave a thoughtful reply today, and so I'd like to clarify. First, people need to understand that letters to the editor must be brief, and 250 words often cannot capture the full moment. Likely I erred in trying to combine two relevant topics--my first ever unpleasant experience at the polls and the politics of our Sec. Kobach. While I see a connection in those topics, the link was hard to capture in a short space.

Mr. Reed, to clarify: the woman overseeing the poll turned me away, rudely, without any attempt to reach out to me as a voter. In my first draft of my letter, I noted that I would not have felt like a criminal if I had heard something like, "Sorry, but this will be easier if you have your ID," or "I'm happy to help with a provisional ballot. Here's what you do." I think the contrast for me was that the people who knew me were not allowed to speak, while the person in charge made no effort to politely offer assistance. She told me simply, "You can't vote." It was I who reminded her that i had the right to place a provisional ballot, and she grudgingly agreed that I was correct. She was curt in voice and manner to the volunteers who both called me by name, she offered no explanation of the steps involved in the provisional polling process, and she asked me three times for my ID in the course of my 10-minutes at the polls, and each time I had to remind her I was voting provisionally. Perhaps I was her first provisional person; I can't know. What I can know is that I have never missed an election since I voted in my first presidential election in 1968. Until last year's presidential election, I have never produced an ID at the polling place, and I've lived in Chicago, New York, Lawrence, and small towns.

Perhaps what I ineffectively was trying to convey is that my experience at the polls struck me as somewhat absurd and that the revised polling requirements were brought about by a secretary of state who I believe walks on questionable ground in terms of democratic principles.

I in no way thought I should live outside the rules. I was a voting citizen who on that morning forgot her ID, assumed incorrectly that provisional voting was relatively easy, and that people at the polls were accustomed to smoothly helping people through the process. I had my assumptions revised that morning, and the experience hit a nerve, because I believe it points to a shift toward people's acceptance of bureaucracy as something benign. My personal feelings are that when voter fraud in our state has never been an issue that anything that seems to be helping a non-problem may itself be something that bears watching.

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Fred Mertz 1 year, 5 months ago

I have to agree that we should not accept bureaucracy and while I support the voter ID law, I am glad we have people on the other side who are willing to question and push back.

Group think unchecked is dangerous. We should praise those that disagree with instead of demonizing them.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 5 months ago

"I have to agree that we should not accept bureaucracy"

If we could eliminate 90% of the human population, then most bureaucracy could be eliminated as well. Is that what you wish for?

1

jgalas 1 year, 5 months ago

I wrote the letter to which Mr. Reed gave a thoughtful reply today, and so I'd like to clarify. First, people need to understand that letters to the editor must be brief, and 250 words often cannot capture the full moment. Likely I erred in trying to combine two relevant topics--my first ever unpleasant experience at the polls and the politics of our Sec. Kobach. While I see a connection in those topics, the link was hard to capture in a short space.

Mr. Reed, to clarify: the woman overseeing the poll turned me away, rudely, without any attempt to reach out to me as a voter. In my first draft of my letter, I noted that I would not have felt like a criminal if I had heard something like, "Sorry, but this will be easier if you have your ID," or "I'm happy to help with a provisional ballot. Here's what you do." I think the contrast for me was that the people who knew me were not allowed to speak, while the person in charge made no effort to politely offer assistance. She told me simply, "You can't vote." It was I who reminded her that i had the right to place a provisional ballot, and she grudgingly agreed that I was correct. She was curt in voice and manner to the volunteers who both called me by name, she offered no explanation of the steps involved in the provisional polling process, and she asked me three times for my ID in the course of my 10-minutes at the polls, and each time I had to remind her I was voting provisionally. Perhaps I was her first provisional person; I can't know. What I can know is that I have never missed an election since I voted in my first presidential election in 1968. Until last year's presidential election, I have never produced an ID at the polling place, and I've lived in Chicago, New York, Lawrence, and small towns.

Perhaps what I ineffectively was trying to convey is that my experience at the polls struck me as somewhat absurd and that the revised polling requirements were brought about by a secretary of state who I believe walks on questionable ground in terms of democratic principles.

I in no way thought I should live outside the rules. I was a voting citizen who on that morning forgot her ID, assumed incorrectly that provisional voting was relatively easy, and that people at the polls were accustomed to smoothly helping people through the process. I had my assumptions revised that morning, and the experience hit a nerve, because I believe it points to a shift toward people's acceptance of bureaucracy as something benign. My personal feelings are that when voter fraud in our state has never been an issue that anything that seems to be helping a non-problem may itself be something that bears watching.

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Ron Holzwarth 1 year, 5 months ago

It can be very difficult to understand the problems of others, particularly if you have some of your own. One of my problems that is actually very useful is that I have the OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) syndrome, and I absolutely must know at all times where my wallet and keys are. On the very rare occasions when I do not (every two or three years, for a few minutes), I become very agitated and upset and search wildly until I find them, whether I need them at the time or not.

It bothers me a great deal when people tell me, "Just a minute, I can't find my wallet/keys." How can you not know where they are? I try my very level best to be patient, and remember that other people are not like me, and they honestly forgot where they left their wallet or keys, but I simply can't imagine how someone could do that.

Maybe the poll workers were people like me, and simply could not understand how “Offended Voter” had forgotten her ID, that is Driver's License, surely she had just overlooked it in her purse. And just maybe, they wondered how she had arrived at the polling station, since it's a legal requirement that everyone carry their valid driver's license with them when operating a motor vehicle in Kansas.

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Carol Bowen 1 year, 5 months ago

My first reaction to Mr. Reed's letter was that he had assumed that all voters have the ability to drive or arrange transportation rather easily. Since then, jgalas clarified the original letter. Still, however, Mr. Reed was prejudicial. Not everyone can jump into a car and drive downtown on a short errand. While, jgalas may have the capability, many voters have to arrange a ride days in advance if at all. Let's not forget them.

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tomatogrower 1 year, 5 months ago

If a poll worker was rude and unhelpful, I think you should let Jamie Shew know. I agree it's a crappy law, but it is the law and the worker must uphold it, but they need to do so allowing for a provisional ballot - that is the law too.

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buffalo63 1 year, 5 months ago

+10 When clarified, there was more to this incident than "not taking personal responsibility". I certainly would have been upset also.

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