Somewhat Humorous North Carolina Voter ID Story

I had a bit of a chuckle-worthy experience today with early voting. As a quick point of context for those unaware,  in July of this year, a federal appeals court struck down the state’s voter ID law and there were heavy racial undertones around the decision, specifically accusations that the law was intended to reduce the number of black voters.

So with all of that as a backdrop, ol’ Ben E Lou wanders into a polling place this morning after dropping my youngest off at preschool. There are numerous signs declaring “No Photo ID Needed To Vote” both inside and outside of the location. I go inside, and it’s demographically pretty much what one would expect in a suburban voting location at 8:45 on a Friday morning: virtually every poll worker is a 70+-year-old white person. I interpret all those “voter IDs not required” signs to mean that an ID isn’t required, but I assume that showing something official with my picture, name, and address on it is going to be the fastest way to get validated, get on with it, and get back to work. So as I walk up to the sign-in table, I smile, nod at the sweet older lady sitting there, and start to reach for my wallet.

Y’all, it was like a moment out of a comedy sketch.

Her reaction was *priceless*. I don’t recall the exact words she used, but her tone, facial expression, and body language all communicated: “NO NO NO NO NO PUT YOUR WALLET AWAY NO VOTER ID PLEASE DON’T MAKE IT LOOK LIKE I AM ASKING FOR ONE FROM YOU MR. BLACK MAN OMG EVERYONE PLEASE LOOK AND SEE THAT I AM NOT SUPPRESSING THIS NEGRO’S VOTE !!!!!”

Seriously, it was akin to the movie/sitcom trope where someone goes to say/do something that no one wants them to do and like five people raise both hands outward toward them and with panicked faces say “NOOOOOOOO” in unison. There was a look of near-horror on her face and on that of the poll workers seated on either side of her. It felt like if I’d made another move toward my wallet, three old white people would have jumped out from under the table to grab it, put it back in my pocket, and then apologize profusely for making me think I needed to show an ID.

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3 thoughts on “Somewhat Humorous North Carolina Voter ID Story

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  1. I literally laughed out loud. Our poll was manned by all white, avg age 70+ and God bless them. I am a missionary in Guatemala. Voting there requires a photo ID (while slowing corruption it still doesn’t defeat it) and they stick their finger into indelible ink. I have told my friends in Guatemala that we don’t have voter ID – and all so far have looked shocked. I try to keep a neutral face and ask why that bothers them – they are visibly disappointed because they have high opinions of the USA and the history and they perceive us to be more honest than their government. I have asked what disturbs them about no ID… the ONLY reason they can come up with for no voter ID is corrupt politicians remaining in power.
    I confess that I do not understand the opposition to voter ID.
    In Christ,
    Dennis McCutcheon – Vine International http://www.vineinternational.org

    Liked by 1 person

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