By Brad Friedman on 4/29/2008, 11:39am PT  

For those wondering what a legally registered voter needs to do to successfully cast a ballot in Indiana --- now that their draconian polling place Photo ID restrictions have been upheld by the Supreme Court --- so that it might be counted, in the event the voter doesn't currently own a state-issued photo ID (no, military ID is not acceptable) we thought we'd offer a handy quick guide.

Note: It doesn't matter if you've voted in every single election for the last 40 or 50 years at the same polling place. Nor does it matter, as Justice Souter pointed out his dissent yesterday, "that the State has not come across a single instance of in-person voter impersonation fraud in all of Indiana’s history." You'll still need to do the following if you don't happen to have an IN drivers license!

Also note: Given the SCOTUS decision, and the nation-wide GOP effort (anywhere they can get away with it) to deny legal, Democratic-leaning voters from being able to even cast a ballot, folks in other states may wish to read the following to get an idea what's likely to be coming your way, as the Republican War on Voting successfully rages on. Please try not to be a causality.

How to cast a ballot in Indiana, if you don't currently have a state-issued ID:

  • Find your birth certificate or passport. If you don't have either, you might be able to apply to the state to get a copy of your birth certificate, if you happened to have been born there, for just $12. A passport may cost you $100 (I can't help you get to the place where you'll need to get your photo taken for that.) UPDATE: BRAD BLOG commenter Mary Mancini points out Indiana's requirements for a copy of your birth certificate, require you to guessed it...a Photo ID!
  • Get yourself to a Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Don't let the fact that you don't drive, or have a car, or have access to public transportation, as in many counties in Indiana, stop you from getting to the BMV before Election Day.
  • Do the above every four years, without fail, or risk not being able to vote like everyone else at the polls in Indiana on Election Day.

If you fail in any step above, don't have the money to afford the necessary documents, or have a religious objection to having your photo taken, do not to worry. Indiana has you covered...

  • Figure out how to get to the nearby polling place to vote. (Unlike the BMV, polling places in IN, for the moment, are many. If you're lucky, one will be close enough that you can walk there, presuming the weather in Indiana, say, in November, allows it. Though many will help you get to the polls on Election Day, even if they're not always available to drive you to the BMV at other times of the year.)
  • When you get to the polls, and are told you can't vote like everyone else, because you have no state-issued ID, you'll get to vote on a provisional ballot (hopefully, at least that's the law).
  • Don't forget to sign the affidavit on the ballot, stating that you are who you say you are, before dropping it into the box, so officials can match your polling place Election Day signature with your voter registration form signature.

But it's not over yet, if you want to get that vote counted somehow! (Having it counted accurately and/or transparently, due to the voting systems used in IN, is largely out of any citizen's hands, at this point.)

  • Before 10 days have elapsed after you've voted, you must now go back and figure out how to get your Photo ID still! (see original three steps.) And then...
  • Get a ride to the county seat, however far that may be from where you live. Get to the Courthouse there within those 10 days, and then show them your ID as mentioned above, sign yet another affidavit, similar to the one you signed on Election Day at the polling place on your provisional ballot, attesting again to the fact that you are you. And then maybe, just maybe, if that signature is also judged to match your registration, then your vote might be counted.

No, it's not onerous at all. As Scalia and friends noted in their decision [PDF] yesterday, "the burden at issue is minimal," as he sees it. (Though we're guessing he probably owns a state-issued ID already.) So what could those losers on the Supreme Court have been thinking, just 42 years ago, when they struck down a simple $1.50 poll-tax on the grounds that it might keep some voters from being able to cast their legal vote? Silly them.

Welcome to America's brave new modern world. 9/11 changed everything.

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