Take This and Weep

Dizziness or fainting may occur upon standing. That’s if you take a certain widely prescribed anti-depressant.

As of today we can apply this medicinal warning to the act of voting in the United States.

According to the Supreme Court the state of Indiana is perfectly within its rights to require voters to own a photo I.D. and to present it at polling stations. I wonder how many "mainstream" citizens know that voting in these United States is already nearly impossible for people with disabilities and that this latest requirement will likely make it even harder for pwds to participate in the democratic process?

How do you acquire a photo I.D. if you don’t drive? Can you get one at the local post office? Of course not…

You must go to the division of motor vehicles. Try getting there if you’re mobility impaired and without a car and driver. I’d personally like to see Antonin Scalia navigate his way to the division of motor vehicles using a wheelchair in an average American city where you will find nothing like a sidewalk.

During the 2004 presidential election in Ohio people with disabilities were prevented from voting owing to insufficient accessible facilities and unendurable four hour waiting lines. Such conditions are of course unacceptable for any citizen, but if you have a disabling issue these circumstances will effectively prevent you from casting a vote.

The situation is worse if you’re blind and you want to cast a ballot without the assistance of a polling station volunteer. While promises are made that new electronic voting machines will be "blind friendly" they are often unworkable and the volunteers in poling places don’t know how to make them function.

So here’s the bottom line: citizenship is now officially provisional in the United States. You need to have a valid driver’s license to vote. You better be able to get to the division of motor vehicles despite the fact that these places are not easy to find if you have a disability. And stop whining. If you’re unable to drive there’s obviously something wrong with your character.

Stock up on those anti-depressants. Now that citizenship for people with disabilities has been marginalized by making voting largely inaccessible you should not be surprised to find that additional forms of inaccessibility will be perfectly fine with this court.

Yes. I’m feeling dizzy. Will they make an affordable drug that disguises feelings of genuine persecution?


Author: skuusisto

Poet, Essayist, Blogger, Journalist, Memoirist, Disability Rights Advocate, Public Speaker, Professor, Syracuse University

0 thoughts on “Take This and Weep”

  1. That’s very strange, given how much money, time, effort, etc. has been poured into compliance with HAVA — could be that it’s more a matter of suing specifically under that umbrella, and dragging the case to a sufficiently high court.
    I don’t know the exact rules HAVA came with, but when I was volunteering for/with my county, it was mandatory that all precinct leaders get a few hours of training in using the accessible voting machine every election, it had to be fully wheelchair accessible, and we also were taught “curbside” rules so disabled people could opt to vote from their car. It sounded, from our clerk’s emphatic wording each election, like the courts were very serious about ensuring accessibility.
    I’ve never actually seen a city without sidewalks (all of the ones out here certainly have them, as did the ones in MD/VA when I visited several years ago), and the bus system goes near enough the DMV for that to be workable, so I can’t say much there.
    It sounds like the cases where a disabled person can’t get an ID and/or vote are going to be more in line with the very rare ones where restaurant employees have been rude or refused service to an amputee or autistic as happened a few times in the past year. That is, the overwhelming majority of us (including most amputees) will be able to get an ID card & vote, then there will be a handful of extremely rare incidents where a citizen will have to drag the matter through the justice system in order to (in most cases) get HAVA enforced. It doesn’t seem to be worthy of severe upset in advance when there are avalanches of other harmful issues in the present, unless you were just having a bad week when you wrote this entry…?


  2. One really good thing about compulsory voting is that the Electoral Commission works hard to make sure that everyone can vote – and when they fail, there are consequences.


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