One reason to vote against State Question 746, which would require voters to present photo identification or a voting card, is pretty straightforward: It would slow down the voting process.
Let’s leave the issue of bigotry aside for a moment-some political observers say voter identification rules affect minority groups and senior citizens the most-and focus on the pragmatic. Do we really want slower voting lines as poll workers check ids? Think about this: Person after person handing over their identifications, waiting for verification and then returning their identification to their wallets and purses.
Meanwhile, there are sure to be some people without the appropriate identification, no matter what their ethnicity or age, who will then have to cast a provisional ballot, which will require they sign a sworn statement. How much more time will that take?
Sure, each transaction may take a just a minute or so, but those minutes can add up in a long line.
Will some people be intimidated or confused by the new rules and not vote at all? The League of Women Voters and the American Association of Retired People argue that 78,000 Oklahomans could be affected by the new rules.
There are no credible reports of widespread voter fraud in the state. The voter-fraud issue is one of those phantom paranoias the GOP uses to scare people. Those people across the country who push voter id laws know about the concerns that they could adversely affect minority groups and older people. They have to know that voter id rules are based on a problem that doesn’t exist. In 2009, Gov. Brad Henry argued, and rightfully so, the election process here “has operated without a taint of voter fraud.”
Oklahoma and the country in general should be making it easier to vote, not making it more of a hassle for just about everyone. For the sake of convenience, voters should reject SQ 746.