Pretty much anything we do is taxed. Whether it’s flipping on our cable, making a call on our cell phone or biting into a Snickers bar. Taxes are inescapable. The one tax-free haven, at least in theory, is voting. A free and fair vote is the bedrock of our political system. Voting is the one instance where all of us, no matter how rich or poor, influential or humble, are completely equal because there is no cost involved. Voting is the great equalizer, of course, assuming it is free. However, this week the state of Virginia joined a growing number of states that have implemented or are pending implementation of a voting system that taxes voters. In other words, Virginia has implemented a poll tax. Governor Bob McDonnell signed into law a bill that requires voters to present a valid photo identification in order to vote. At first read, the new voting requirement seems innocuous. Most people tend to have a photo identification either in the form of a driver’s license or school ID. And if they don’t have one, then the state will provide one free of charge. But what the bill does not address is the cost it takes to secure the documents needed to get that free ID.
According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, you can obtain an identification card principally through a birth certificate or passport. Both of these forms of ID have costs attached to them. A passport costs around $150. Securing a birth certificate is much less expensive, though there is still a fee attached, in Virginia it’ll run you $12.
To most of us 12 bucks may not seem like a lot of money. But let’s say you are an elderly person living on a pension of about $1200. Twelve dollars may be the cost of one week’s worth of medication. And the $12 fee for a birth certificate does not take into account the transportation costs associated with going to the DMV to secure the “free” voter ID.
So while the photo ID itself is free, the documents and logistics required to secure it are not. If you’re a Virginian voting in elections could now come at a cost.
Full Article: Virginia’s voter ID law is a backdoor poll tax — MSNBC.