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Voter ID disenfranchises elderly 

Voter ID disenfranchises elderly

As an older Arkansan, I'm very concerned about the bill SB 2 requiring all voters to present a photo ID before they are allowed to vote. I'm concerned for the friends that I take to the polls because they no longer drive and don't have a driver's license or a current photo ID from a job. I'm equally concerned about people with disabilities who may never have had a driver's license or photo ID from a job, or who may no longer have either due to a catastrophic accident or major health issue. The bill is very specific in that an expired driver's license will only be accepted at the polls for up to 4 years. If you stopped driving 5 years ago, you've lost the right to vote that you have cherished all these years, unless of course you live in a nursing home. Nursing home residents can ask the facility administrator to vouch for who they are so they can submit an absentee ballot. Unfortunately, that leaves the rest of us who have not been institutionalized standing at the polls, trying to prove to our neighbors — the volunteers at the polls — that we are who we have been saying we are for decades.

The bill does provide exceptions and suggested acceptable other forms of documentation to take to the polls — four to five pages of them, in fact, including a hypothetical voter identification card to be issued by the Secretary of State. So why am I worried? Because provision of voter identification cards will only happen if funds are allocated to this endeavor by the legislature, even if the consumer picks up the tab for the card itself. And remember these cards are photo IDs. Will there soon be a long line of folks waiting outside the Secretary of State's office at the Capitol to get their pictures taken? Or will that be assigned to motor vehicle offices? Either way, it will cost the state money that it doesn't have. Considering all the other demands for funding — like Medicaid, education, senior centers, etc., I don't see state-issued photo IDs happening too soon, but the bill will still go into effect without them. There will also be no funding to pay for education of the public about new voting regulations and all the alternate ways to confirm a voter's identity, in the absence of a current driver's license.

I understand that the purpose of this bill was something other than disenfranchising Arkansas seniors and people with disabilities. Nevertheless, I resent the fact that we may become the collateral damage of this thoughtless bill and, should it not pass and we retain our right to vote, I will rally other seniors to vote out of office all our elected officials who signed on to SB2.

Gloria Gordon

North Little Rock

Against Big River

The state should not be in the business of providing grants and loans to the Big River Steel Mill!

We don't need to be spending tax dollars for a project that benefits 1 percenters.

If you absolutely have to help a project, then pay for road improvements that benefit the business and the public, etc. Also port improvements and rail improvements.

Just as those on Medicaid should face an income tax surcharge to pay for all or part of the state's cost, corporations have no business asking taxpayers for a grant and loan like those mentioned in the media.

You can provide grants for infrastructure and loans with collateral but not like the terms Big River is ripping us off for.

Keith Weber

Jacksonville

From the web:

In response to David Koon's cover story, "Coming across" (Feb. 21), on undocumented students in Arkansas pursuing a college education:

When a nation has the kind of problems the United States has, it's because many of its people are using their country for selfish purposes; politicians such as Barack Obama and the Democratic Party are just symptoms of that selfishness, because they are using immigration for party building instead of nation building!

Obama and the Democrats are leading the U.S. into a sovereign debt crisis that will be followed by a Second Great Depression. This economic crisis is on track and cannot be stopped! Regardless if the Congress legislates an amnesty for illegal aliens they will not be able to stay.

It's during the coming crisis that millions of illegals and even legal immigrants will have to return home because of hyper-unemployment, homelessness, hunger and chaos in America's cities.

If they go now they have the chance to find work to survive the crisis. If they stay until the crisis begins they will have nothing here and nothing when they eventually have to return anyway! In the end the selfishness of the Democratic Party will have done them far more harm by encouraging them to stay than the people who want to defend the borders!

Thomas Pope

By not allowing these students to pursue higher education at an affordable cost (the same in-state tuition which their high school classmates receive) we are creating a cycle of poverty. So many of these students want to be successful and keep finding barriers and road blocks. Deferred Action is a first step, but these students need to be able to access a college education and the higher-paying jobs that are the result of their hard work.

TeachMePF

I really enjoyed reading this article. When I was in college, I spent a lot of time trying to help a friend of mine (brought to the U.S. as a baby by his parents; no papers) get access to college and there were no options for him. None. We couldn't even get him a library card because it required a Social Security number. Forget legitimate work, it wasn't possible.

We even went to see an immigration lawyer who told us that there's no clear path to citizenship and the old belief that all you have to do is marry an American to become legal is bull crap. It doesn't work that way anymore.

Years and lots of money later, he finally got his green card. He works two jobs and recently enrolled in college so that his child can have a better life than he had.

These kids who have worked just as hard if not harder than their American counterparts deserve a chance to better themselves. And I think you'll see that when you give these kids that chance that EVERYONE in our society benefits.

Pam Cameron

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