Trying to Worry about Voter ID. Trying. Trying. Nope. Still Not Worrying.

My fellow libtards, I am trying to hang with you on the voter ID issue, and I want to hang with you, and I will hang with you if I can, but I have to admit that It's getting hard to hang with you.

Yesterday The Dallas Morning News had a big story about the county election administrator sending out letters to people whose names on their driver's licenses differed from those on their voter registration cards, offering them a way to decide on one name or the other.

Yeah, I got one of those myself. The News described the issue as a "partisan debate." I kind of thought of it like, "Jim, it's time for you to decide what your name is."

The question is whether people have the same name on their photo IDs as on their voter registration cards as required by new elections laws. This came up in the election last November. If your name was different, you had to sign some piece of paper. I did that, I think, and my memory is that it took about two seconds. The letter sent out by the county this week gives you a chance to change your name on your registration card so you won't have to sign the piece of paper.

And let me be perfectly frank. Last November when I went to vote, I was hoping some Republican vote-suppressing 1-percenter would be outside the polling place whopping Democrats with his polo mallet so I could grab his nose with my Carex 26-inch EZ-Grabber Reaching Aid and have us a good-old fashioned polling place donnybrook. But to my disappointment, everything went smooth as silk.

That's the thing. We libtards predicted that photo ID laws would disenfranchise all of the non-wealthy. Last election, I didn't see a single soul lose his franchise. Before the election when this was being debated, it really pissed me off to hear Republicans say things like, "People have to have their pictures on their driver's licenses, and that doesn't seem to keep them from driving." After the election I thought, "You know, I've had my picture on my driver's license all these years, and it never kept me from driving."

Same thing with having to choose your name. My discrepancy was small. On my voting card I had a "Sr" after my name. You know: for "Sir." But I did not have one on my driver's license. Maybe that seems picayune. But once you have a law saying your name has to be the same, how else do you want to handle it? Are we going to have a picayune name judge at every polling place and all kinds of debates going on about how many names people are allowed to have?

"No, sir, you don't understand. These two names are essentially the same, because Kraniztco actually means Smith in Latvian."

Now you're anti-Latvian.

After the state's first photo ID election, the consensus around the state was that there had been barely enough trouble among voters adjusting to the new law to justify a trouble-among-voters-adjusting story.

Of course that hasn't stopped anybody from hoping for trouble, including one website,, which has done its own math and derived the precise amount of delay that current laws will cause by the year 2016. Six hours.

"If it takes just two minutes to process each voter required to sign an affidavit," the website states, "that's a total of about 4,500 hours of delays spread across Dallas County's precincts -- or more than 6 months worth of wasted time! Admittedly, that time will be spread across each of Dallas County's 774 voting precincts, but 4,500 hours of delay divided by 774 precincts equals almost six hours of delay per precinct."

True. But what if it only takes two seconds? Or what if everybody already has the same name on both ID cards and we all get to the polls way ahead of time with lots of time to kill, but then we find out that's the day for the End Times? Shoot!

As I said at the start, I want to stand with my peeps on this one and worry about it and predict disaster and find some kind of larger theme in it. But I just took the Sr off the end of my name on the voting card, because ... I don't know. Life may actually be too short for this one.

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Jim Schutze has been the city columnist for the Dallas Observer since 1998. He has been a recipient of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ national award for best commentary and Lincoln University’s national Unity Award for writing on civil rights and racial issues. In 2011 he was admitted to the Texas Institute of Letters.
Contact: Jim Schutze