So after I spent 6 1/2 hours waiting to vote, and I'm finishing up, I notice a woman being turned away and told that she can't vote because she doesn't have the right documentation. Now, I wasn't asked for any documentation, but I've been a registered voter in Mecklenburg County for a long time, and this is (I think) the 3rd presidential election that I've voted in since moving here. And we had one of the volunteer voting dudes (I don't know what the board of elections volunteers are called) come outside and explain to the crowd the following -
If you are registering to vote today, you must have photo ID and something the proves you reside in Mecklenburg County with you.
Now North Carolina allows you to register and vote the same day if you're doing early voting, which I didn't know until I looked up the early voting sites online. But if you're registering to vote, you have to have proof of residence, and a photo ID.
All good, right?
Now if you're a registered voter and you've voted in your county before (like me) you only have to prove your identity by telling them your name and address.
I did find it interesting that I was not asked to provide my birthdate, while the guy beside me and the woman behind me at the sign-in kiosk were asked for this additional piece of information.
Now the controversy begins here - If you are a registered voter and you have not voted in this county before, you must show a photo ID to prove that you are you. But according to the poll observer outside (because he was kicked out by the lady running the voting room over this disagreement) that is only to prove that you are you, and is not required to match the address given. For example, you could use a passport, which is a government-issued photo ID, but does not display your address. According to the woman in the voting room, if your photo ID does not show an address in Mecklenburg County, and you don't have proof of residence with you, then you can't vote, even if you have a voter registration card showing you're registered in Mecklenburg County and a photo ID showing that you are you.
So at least a couple of people waited in line for hours today only to be told that they couldn't vote because they registered early and only had their driver's license with them. Now we'll ignore for the moment the fact that you're supposed to immediately get a new driver's license when you move to a new state, and just say that this is the kind of thing that makes a fuss. Especially when the poll workers are all one level of pigmentation and the voters turned away (and asked to provide birthdays when I wasn't) are another level of pigmentation. I choose to believe that it is a misunderstanding of the finer points of election law rather than some underhanded desire to prevent people from voting, but I'm not the media types.
I just put it on the internet, but that's not media, right? Interestingly enough, there were no McCain supporters to be found anywhere in line around me. Are Republicans scared to vote in my neighborhood even in broad daylight? I thought they had all the firepower?