It's still hard for me to believe that a U.S. citizen could live a life without a piece of government-issued ID which in some states has become mandatory to vote. I need my license to drive, to catch a flight to visit my family since I'm the only one in DC, moving here to pursue my dreams of becoming a national political reporter, heck, just to buy a bottle of wine to share after a long week at work, or grab a drink at a bar (these are two of my absolute favorite things. Being carded. Yes, I got to that age).
In fact, as I learned while guest host of NPR's Tell Me More with Michel Martin while Michel was away, a lot of people don't have official identification. Who are these? Viejitos who may be decades and miles removed from their birthplace and birth certificate. The vulnerable: the sick and/or poor, for whom $10 may mean groceries. And for anyone who has ever been to the DMV where you can spend a minimum 1/2 day running a what should be a simple errand, well, that's time off of work or if you're disabled, standing, playing musical chairs, all which can represent strain your body.
I have to admit, in typical-Let's-Just-Do-This-Viviana-fashion, I thought, Com'on, just get an ID so that no one can deny you your birthright of voting. Then this story opened my eyes to the plight of those who live a parallel existence to mine, scraping by, on the margins of our society, but want to and the right to vote. How many are we talking about, thousands? In a tight election, that could be the different between who wins, who loses, that slim margin can shape the direction of our country.
I got to interview NPR's Corey Dade who broke down a complex but urgent issue of the the voter ID laws in limbo in a number of states, months before the election. What's at stake?
"State Voter ID Laws Hang in the Balance" aired on August 20, 2012 on NPR's Tell Me More with Michel Martin with me as guest host while Michel was away.
Click here or below to listen.