Vote Anyway

Christie Chisholm
3 min read
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It’s finally here–the Primary Election Guide is out on stands (it will be on the web tomorrow), which means Editor Steve Allen and I can finally get back to doing … well, a lot, still. But not as much. This means several things: I am happy. I’m a little tired. I’m having problems constructing complete sentences.

But while on the topic of elections and voting, did anyone notice the article on voter ID cards on the front page of the Journal today? Apparently, our brand-new cards are arriving in the mail, and … lo and behold … they’re riddled with errors. For those who aren’t up-to-date on this rapidly expanding fiasco, here’s a brief refresher:

A 2005 law passed by the State Legislature requires New Mexicans to show some sort of ID at the polls (this can include a photo ID, utility bill, paycheck, government document with the appropriate name and address on it–even if it’s not the correct address–or a "written or verbal statement" claiming the name, year of birth and last four digits of the Social Security number of the voter).

The law also made it mandatory to put taxpayer dollars to "good use" by purchasing approximately 1 million shiny plastic voter ID cards, costing us $1 million, to be mailed out to voters. The cards are not necessary to vote, as long you have one of the aforementioned items, but they are shiny.

Somehow we also ended up paying for a hefty number of TV ads, showcasing Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron and the new IDs.

Now cards are being shuffled into the mailboxes of Bernalillo County voters, the rest of the state soon to follow suit. Which brings us back to today’s article–and the fact that many of those shiny, expensive cards are, well, completely useless.

The article says voters have called the Secretary of State’s Office to complain that the gender, political party, address or birth date on the cards are wrong. Oh, yeah, and some cards were addressed to dead people. But don’t worry–if your card’s wrong, all you have to do it go to the County Clerk’s Office, turn over the flawed cards and tell the office about the necessary corrections. That’s not out of your way or anything, is it? And the Secretary of State’s Office will just send you a new card. No problem, right?

Sure, there’s no problem–aside from the fact that taxpayers, without having a say in the matter, purchased utterly unnecessary cards and TV ads, and now we’ll inevitably dish out some more dough for the redoes.

You know what the really sad thing is? All the situation accomplishes is the further disconnect between citizens and voting. The cards are a waste of time and brain cells. They’re only going to confuse people and … whadya know? … make them not want to vote.

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