Supreme Court Hearts Big Brother

Perhaps John Paul Stevens, 88 years old, just signaled that perhaps he is ready to retire, providing yet another reason why this is an incredibly important presidential election.

The Supreme Court just announced its decision (6-3) on Tuesday in the Voter ID case in Indiana, which promises to create some confusion in next Tuesday’s primary voting there. The Case focused on the state’s right to impose voter ID requirements on a voter’s constitutional right to vote. Unlike the literacy test and poll tax, which the Court has deemed to be unconstitutional, the Court this time sanctioned the states to suppress voting (disenfranchising voters) by requiring a government issue photo ID before casting a vote.

Problem here is that 18% do not have such photo identifications; 16% elderly voters do not have the required photo ID and 16% of voters without a college education do not have such a photo ID. Related problems include cost of the ID and cost of the secondary documents needed to get the ID.

In addition to suppressing votes, the photo ID requirement plays into a larger condition exacerbated by Bush’s America: namely a national ID narrative, and Orwellian surveillance state. The Real ID Act, enacted in 2005, requires a “national” drivers’ license that private corporations– like Accenture, Unysis– input personal biographical information into a national database, sells the data to other companies and advertisers as well as shares it with insurance companies and potential employers.

Important firewalls protecting private data are circumvented as individual voters and drivers lose control over their own personal info. In addition, persons and groups of people (like the poor, black and elderly) who are not included in the data base, even more insidiously become the excluded other in society.

The bottom line is that you ain’t nobody in this new world, if Acenture or Unisyss don’t know your bio and medical condition, and if they don’t have your information, you can’t vote, and are not considered a citizen. Is this what Jefferson wanted?


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