Voting Moms, Do You Have Valid ID?

Moms, are your driver’s licenses up to date? If not, and you’re planning on voting in this November’s election, you’d better fix that or attempts to push through tougher voter ID laws around the country could prevent you from casting your ballot.

There have been plenty of news stories this election season about efforts to prevent voter fraud — it seems that certain political operatives are worried that dead people or felons or undocumented immigrants might try to trick their way in to polling places in November. But there’s another group of very active voters who could get turned away from the polls if stricter voter identification laws are upheld — American mothers.

Wonder how that could possibly happen?

The most common “state-issued photo ID” is a driver’s license.  If you get asked for ID at the voting booth, while there are a few other options, your driver’s license is really what those in favor of these laws are talking about. After women get married or divorced, updating their driver’s licenses isn’t usually at the top of their “to do” list.  While those politicos who are pushing voter ID laws claim they’re not meant to disenfranchise anyone, that’s exactly what could happen for thousands upon thousands of women around the country.

You might say to yourself that this is a non-issue for women in the 21st century, right? We live in a time when fewer brides change their names when getting married. In my daughter’s school, you could make that argument, where I’d guess about half the moms I know have kept their maiden names rather than changing to their husband’s last names. But across the country, somewhere close to 90 percent of women take their spouse’s last name when they say “I do.” Factor in a divorce rate of 50% and the fact that almost one-third of eligible women voters don’t possess a government issued photo ID, and it doesn’t take a genius to do the math (or the politics) to realize what could happen.

And I can tell you from personal experience, making those document changes aren’t easy, especially if you’re divorced.

When I divorced my first husband, it took me months to find the time in my work schedule to jump through all the hoops necessary to change my name, and I even had the judge include language in my divorce decree to make that switch “easier.” I had to make sure I had official documents and notarized copies of my divorce papers, and had to go to government offices to change my Social Security card and then driver’s license. Plus I had to find the time to take off from work to do it, because the offices I needed to go to were only open during business hours. So if I couldn’t squeeze it in on a lunch hour, I had to use vacation time or get docked pay to do it. And I had my own car, as well as an employer who was willing to be flexible and understood that there would be long lines I’d have to wait in because everyone else was using their lunch hour for similar official errands. And it was still a time-consuming pain in the you-know-what.

Studies have revealed there is little voter fraud. There is no rampant effort by undocumented, non-citizens to wrest our democracy from us for nefarious purposes. And I don’t know about you, but I’m not particularly worried about the nuns who wanted to vote but had an ID issue.

Ladies, you shouldn’t have to worry about this, but why take a chance? I know it’s hard with all the beginning of the school year stuff we have to juggle. But if you’re determined to vote in November, please don’t leave your vote to chance. You shouldn’t have to hand over a driver’s license, but you might have to. So let’s help each other out when it comes to keeping an eye on each others’ kids so we can all make sure we’ve got the appropriate identification for the voting booth.

Just in case.

Read more from me at my place PunditMom and in my Amazon best-selling book, Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America (A great pre-2012 election read!)

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