Thursday, May 1, 2014

Show Me the Money, and then You Can Vote

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

I've just spent the better part of a day trying to get my Missouri car tags and driver's license - primarily so that I could get registered to vote.  My Arizona car tags had three months left to run, and my driver's license was still good for another five years.  

The new tags were a bargain at just forty dollars, the fee for having my waiver on personal property tax faxed over to the DMV was a mere two dollars, the fee for having an official state vehicle inspector read my odometer and write the mileage down on a special form was twelve dollars, a copy of my birth certificate from the health department was fifteen dollars, and the new driver's license was a steal at just twenty dollars.
Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, and gimme - sucker!

I understand that in "low tax" states - such as Arizona and Missouri - the governments still require funding to meet the needs of the citizens.   If the rich won't pay their fair share, and they seldom do, then the fees are charged for services that were once free - or at least affordable.  One way or another, the poor will be tasked with funding government so that the rich can hold on to their assets and pass that money along to their shiftless off-spring.

I also understand the need for registering both cars and drivers.   Our safety demands that the government have a quick and reliable way to identify vehicles and their owners.

What I don't understand is why voter registration needs to be conflated with vehicle and driver registration.  I stayed calm today, probably a result of the unseasonably cool weather, but I did explain to one of the ladies at the DMV that she was essentially collecting a poll tax, and that poll taxes are not only illegal, they are unconstitutional.  She finally relented and told me that she could give me an official identification card in lieu of a new driver's license (based on the $15.00 birth certificate which I already had to purchase) - but she cautioned that continuing to use my Arizona license could get me ticketed.

I was left with the very definite impression that she had the state highway patrol on speed dial.

So I sucked it up and paid all of the poll taxes - and can now vote in the August primaries.   This year instead of voting against the Arizona fascist legislature, I can proudly cast my ballot against the Missouri fascist legislature.  Sadly, as state legislatures keep coming up with creative ways to keep minorities and the poor from voting, not everyone will have that privilege.

(In a better world, people would have to spend all day registering their guns before they could vote!)

1 comment:

Xobekim said...

The federal Motor Voter law doesn't require the payment of the poll taxes. Kansas' Kris Kobach is the evil mastermind behind this attempt at voter suppression. When I surrendered my still valid Arizona license to Kansas, I too had to show certified evidence of my birth. Yet, my license doesn't say "citizen" or "American" or "OK to Vote". I wonder what the license of a non-citizen says, or is it a different color? Or, as you surmise, is this only a nifty way to gouge the people in the name of "us v. them"?