An American mom wonders about voting


I have some sincere questions about voting. To me, voting is a privilege and a personal responsibility but I’m really struggling about something. Maybe you can help.

“Voting is a big decision,” Ike contemplates the significance of his choice.

Cue reverse time travel machine…Twelve years ago, I took my three OS with me to vote. Our county had a kids’ voting program which I loved. It was truly adorable to see each of them check off the candidates they wanted to be in public office. Of course at the time, I influenced their decisions. They wanted my opinion which I offered but I also reminded them that it was THEIR vote ultimately. They could check any boxes they liked but just one per political office. Nate, Aaron and Ike were 12, 6 and 4 respectively and it was a big deal. We celebrated the right we ALL had to vote.

Now I have two OS of voting age. As many of you know I have a 2012 West Point graduate who is an officer in the Army. He’s also a comparative politics major. For Nate, politics is the intellectual equivalent of a bowl of slightly melted vanilla ice cream with warmed caramel sauce and sprinkles on top or a massaged kale salad depending on how you roll. I roll both ways sometimes during the same day.

And it will be Aaron’s first time voting as an adult! Not that he is especially excited about either of the presidential candidates but we have long taught our OS that they must vote. It matters. I’ve been on both sides of the political aisle. The Hubs and I have cancelled each other’s votes in the past. (That doesn’t happen anymore, we are both in agreement on most political issues). I wear the “I Voted” sticker all day with pride and have even transferred the sticker to another shirt if I spilled something on the previous shirt just so everyone would know that I had declared my preferences. Dare I say, I have choked back a few tears as I have left polling places, I’m not exaggerating. My grandma worked at the polls for years and instilled in us the importance of voting. She was quite proud of herself and I loved that about her.

I’m just so confused about why we don’t have to show an ID when doing this. The first time I went to vote here in my hometown, I was ready to produce my ID. It took me aback when they told me there was no need. How could that be? Couldn’t someone pretend to be me and just show up and take my “voice” away? In this digital age, it seems easier than ever. If you have to show an ID to board a plane, pick up a prescription, heck, get a Sam’s Club card, why shouldn’t people wishing to vote be required to show a picture ID?

“One day I’m going to West Point and be a comparative politics major and have huge muscles!”

I understand that a homeless person might not be able to vote if s/he didn’t have an ID. That is unfortunate. I want people who have polar opposite opinions to be able to put their voice in the mix. Still though, a homeless person would have to have some kind of identification if s/he needed social services, right? What am I missing? I just don’t get it.

Everyone should be able to vote but it’s baffling how producing a reliable form of ID prohibits a person from doing so. Honestly I see it as the opposite. Using a form of identification allows MY voice to be MINE. Your voice to be yours.

Respectful thoughts most welcome…