1) Requirement for a birth certificate based on criminals arrests for voter fraud seems like it is designed to keep people [democrats] from registering to vote.
2) Not having a drivers license keeps this crippled woman for who is physically impossible to drive from leading a normal life because she doesnt have ID - which is what the drivers licens has turned into a kind of "internal passport"
A soldier's mother is denied her right to vote and to speak
Aug. 13, 2006 12:00 AM
Earlier this month, a disabled woman named Eva Steele wanted to tell some visiting congressmen about an Arizona law that may keep her from voting in the next election, but the politicians wouldn't let her speak.
Had the boys from Washington let Steele have her say, she would have told them that her son is an Army reservist out of Missouri deployed in Iraq, where he is risking his life to give Iraqis the right to vote. Something his mother seems to have lost.
"I was hoping they would appreciate the irony of the situation," she told me. "But, I guess not."
Steele's son also is risking his life to allow Iraqis the right to speak freely to elected officials, which his mother wasn't permitted to do. That's because the members of the Committee of House Administration who were visiting our state chose to hear mostly from other politicians, such as Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.
The committee has been holding carefully scripted hearings that are supposed to deal with immigration reform. Here, they wanted Thomas and others to tell them that Arizona's Proposition 200 (the Arizona Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, which passed in 2004) is helping fight voter fraud. The proposition was sold with the promise to stop non-citizens from registering to vote, then slipping into the polls and tipping the scales in our elections.
According to the news articles I've read, a grand total of 10 non-citizens who registered to vote were arrested last year, four of whom actually voted.
"This may represent only a fraction of the fraud that's probably going on," Thomas said.
I hope so, particularly when a law that corrals so few "criminals" may prevent actual citizens such as Steele from casting a ballot. And, to borrow a phrase from Thomas, she may represent only a fraction of those being shut out of the voting booth.
"There have to be a number of people like me," Steele said. "People with disabilities. Newcomers. Tribal people on reservations. With the demands for identification that this proposition places on us, it essentially takes away our rights."
Steele, 57, moved to Arizona from the Midwest and resides in an assisted-living facility. She can't drive and her physical limitations make it difficult to use public transportation. The new proof-of-citizenship and residency requirements are almost impossible for her to fulfill.
"I don't have a driver's license," she said. "I don't get utility bills. I've never had a passport. I don't have property tax statements. All I did was raise my children and teach them to be good citizens and to vote. And now I'm the one who's on the outside looking in."
Earlier this summer, organizations including the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona, the League of Women Voters of Arizona, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Arizona Advocacy Network and the People for the American Way Foundation became the latest groups (there was one other) to file a federal lawsuit trying to prevent some of the restrictions of the law from going into effect.
"In the guise of protecting against voter fraud we are punishing people like Eva Steele and so many others," said Linda Brown, executive director of Arizona Advocacy Network. It was her group that tried to get Steele an opportunity to speak at the congressional hearing.
"If I can't vote and I can't speak, what's the next of our rights to go?" Steele asked.
Freedom of the press, I said, promising to squeeze in her story before it's too late.
Reach Montini at email@example.com or (602) 444-8978. Read his blog at montiniblog.azcentral.com.