Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Marginal

The LATimes had an article on Georgia's requirement that voters have government ID. The theme of the article was that the van that was driving the state to offer ID's wasn't getting much business. Dems had claimed the law would deprive lots of people of the right to vote, Reps not. I found this portion interesting:
"'How does a person get along these days without a picture ID of some sort to cash checks, turn on utilities, drive a car or enroll their children in school?' Larry Watson of LeGrange, Ga., wrote in a letter to the editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

In constructing their case, ACLU lawyers gathered a group of plaintiffs that included elderly people who did not have birth certificates, had never learned to drive, were too frail to stand in line at a licensing center, had allowed their licenses to lapse because they no longer used them, or had encountered bureaucratic obstacles.

But finding those people was not easy, said Neil Bradley, the Voting Rights Project's associate director. One dropped out of the case when he was asked to give a deposition.

'How do you find them? They don't have telephones,' Bradley said. 'These are people who live at that edge of society, where they pay their rent in cash or they pay 20% to get their check cashed.' "
Some points. The marginal, whether as in Chicago's Heat Wave of years ago or in Georgia now, fall out from society. They suffer. They pay more (check cashing), are more vulnerable to crime (keeping their money in cash, rather than the bank), eat poorer (no car to get to markets with good fruits and vegetables), and have less opportunity (aren't comfortable dealing with bureaucracy).

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