A Playboy magazine, swisher sweet cigar, and voter registration card. All three things I was proud to procure on my eighteenth birthday. The first two I went out for at the stroke of midnight. The one I really wanted though I had to wait until after school. I didn’t wait too long. As soon as the final bell of the day rang, I raced down to my maroon Ford Taurus and drove with just one goal in mind, to finally be able to participate in the democracy I was proud to live in.
After that, I never missed an election. Though it would be five years before the starts would align and I’d be able to walk into an actual polling station, I always voted early or happily filled out my absentee ballot. I figured it was my civic responsibility to cast my vote. I didn’t have much of a say in the process, but as a citizen I was able to fulfill my duty by letting my voice be heard by filling in the appropriate bubble. It didn’t matter if it was a primary election for mayor or the presidential election, I voted. I voted to raise taxes. I voted to not issue bonds. I voted for Republicans, Greens, Democrats and Libertarians. I voted because I could.
That’s what makes this year the hardest. I moved into my current apartment 8 days before the registration deadline. Virginia requires you to have one of the following:
(1) current and valid photo ID, (2) current utility bill, (3) bank statement, (4) government check, (5) paycheck, or (6) other government document.
The only one of those I possibly could get in eight days is the photo ID. Of course, the DMV in Virginia says:
You will not receive your new driver’s license or ID card during your DMV visit. Driver’s license applicants will be given temporary driving permits that cannot be used for identification purposes. ID card applicants will be given a receipt. You will receive your new driver’s license or ID card in the mail.
So all in all, the state of Virginia decided I wasn’t deserving to vote. I am a second class citizen.
If you can today, please vote in my place. Please vote for the candidates you think will represent you. Please vote because you can.