In a country where showing your identification is required for everything from opening a gym membership and renting a movie to purchasing a six-pack of beer and placing a wager at a blackjack table, it’s nothing short of ridiculous that the same standards are not required to cast a vote for representatives who we empower to make decisions that include how much we’re taxed, how we’re regulated and who we send to die in wars on our behalf.
What’s even more ridiculous is that those who make the argument for identification requirements at the election polls are usually accused of disenfranchising minorities and seniors, or are often labeled as racists or bigots.
In Ohio and Wisconsin this month a private group of individuals posted 140 billboards across the state highlighting the criminal implications of voter fraud – things like voting in multiple states or fabricating voters, for example.
As you may have guessed, community organizers attacked the message and the messenger like rabid dogs:
More than 140 billboards in Ohio and Wisconsin warning of the criminal consequences of voter fraud will be taken down starting on Monday after the sponsor chose to remove them rather than reveal its identity, the billboard owner said.
The sponsor was not identified on the billboards owned by Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc. The company said this was a violation of its policy against anonymous political ads.
After discussions, the sponsor, whom Clear Channel Outdoor has called a “private family foundation” but declined to name, “thought the best solution was to take the boards down, so we are in the process of removing them,” the company said in a statement.
Crews on Monday will begin taking down 30 billboards in Cleveland, 30 in Columbus and 85 in Milwaukee, Jim Cullinan, vice president of corporate communications for Clear Channel Outdoor, told Reuters.
Cleveland City Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland, one of the most vocal critics of the billboards, told Reuters on Sunday: “Needless to say I’m happy they will be taken down but I want to know who was behind this in the first place.”
In response to the outcry, Clear Channel Outdoor donated 10 billboards around the Cleveland area that read “Voting Is a Right. Not a Crime!”
So let’s get this straight: if you want to run a billboard about voter fraud and identification requirements you have to prove your identity, but to cast your actual vote in elections that determine the future direction of our nation no such verification is necessary.
Does this sound bass-ackwards to anyone else?