I confess that I really cannot feel much sympathy for those criticizing a new Arizona law that requires proof of citizenship in order to register. Really, if we were designing a voting system from scratch today, would we design it without such a requirement? If only citizens are supposed to vote, then the most effective way to make sure that happens is to let only citizens register and have ballots.
As usual, we get the human interest angle in the first paragraph of the New York Times story:
Eva Charlene Steele, a recent transplant from Missouri, has no driver’s license or other form of state identification. So after voting all her adult life, Mrs. Steele will not be voting in November because of an Arizona law that requires proof of citizenship to register.
“I have mixed emotions,” said Mrs. Steele, 57, who uses a wheelchair and lives in a small room in an assisted-living center. “I could see where you would want to keep people who don’t belong in the country from voting, but there has to be an easier way.”
And, as usual, we find that easier way in the last few paragraphs of the story:
Deborah Lopez, a Democratic political consultant in Phoenix, said that the once simple matter of registering voters at a rally or a fiesta now required labor-intensive door-to-door visits.
It was during a registration drive at her assisted-living center, Desert Palms, that Mrs. Steele learned she could not vote. Disabled, with a son, an Army staff sergeant, on active duty, she left Missouri recently to stay with her brother and subsequently moved into the center.
Lacking a driver’s license, she could get a new state identity card, but she said she had neither the $12 to pay for it nor, because she uses a wheelchair, the transportation to pick it up.
“It makes me a little angry because my son is fighting now in Iraq for others to have the right to vote, and I can’t,” said Mrs. Steele, who submitted an affidavit in the suit against the Arizona law.
So all this is because $12 and a ride to the town hall are somehow too complicated to arrange for Mrs. Steele, even though folks like Ms. Lopez routinely handle such logisitics to get people to the polls on Election Day. And because of that, the state of Arizona is supposed to allow for the possibility of voter fraud on a large scale. Ridiculous.