I faced it years ago. And I wrote about it, the experience of turning in my driver’s license. Now in my yellow wallet I carry my state ID. Basically I only use it when I’m carded at restaurants. As the general election approaches, I realized while it was bittersweet to give up my drivers license, it’s still a privilege to have easy access to a state ID. An ID allows me access to all manners of voting. When you live with a disability, it’s important to have options.
Yes, you may be able to register to vote in a number of places—the DMV, libraries, even online at Vote.org—but you need an ID. Everyone is not able or can afford to drive. So if you don’t have a license,for example here in Maryland to obtain an ID it requires proof of age, identity, social security, and residence.
Paperwork OK? Then there are the costs. Adults under 65 pay $24 for a card. Plus the time and money spent to get to the DMV issuing the IDs. For me, the closest location is in the next county:
- 14 minute drive.
- Lyft $16.
- No intercounty transit.
In my county not all locations provide the service I need. The closest one:
- 28 minute drive.
- Lyft $48.
- Public transit. Well, when I tried to load the bus route on Google Maps, I received an error. Can’t find a way. Hmm. I’ll try another location.
- 35 minute car ride.
- Lyft $50.
- Public transit: 2 hours and 34 minutes, one way. Local bus to the train to a cross town bus, to another local bus. If I would travel this way, I would get my moneys worth on the daily pass, it costs $4.20. Plus I would have the adventure of traveling with no indication on conditions of sidewalks, how busy street crossings would be, etc.
I consider the people out there who don’t have the benefit of being married to a spouse who is a driver, who don’t have the ease of access I did to a state ID.
I hold democracy and the right to vote dear. Also, I’m a millennial. I don’t mind doing work at home and ordering in. I’ve tried grocery delivery services. Dog supply deliveries. So it seems only natural that I would eventually try voting by mail. In the state of Maryland, any registered voter can request an absentee ballot and vote remotely. For me, it will mean no queues, no missed work, no anticipation of how this public interaction will go.
Last week I registered for an absentee ballot. Are you eligible to vote? Are you registered? Are you sure? Recently, voters going to the polls have had a shock when they discovered whether due to inactivity or mistake, their names were purged from the rolls. You can check your registration quickly here.
Now all that’s left is to research candidates. Politicians, judges, referendums. I don’t trust those brash political ads, but I do value my friend Marsha’s recommendation, the website the League of Women Voters for election information. Voting absentee will save me time and energy. This general election, in a new way I will make my voice count.
Are you registered to vote? How do you vote? Tell me about it.