Tonight I contemplate the polarized, partisan divide about voting, enlightened by an experience while shopping during late-afternoon. I had gone to Costco for kitty litter, which cost $2.30 more for 42 pounds than a few months ago. At least the manufacturer raised prices without shrinking size—surely such action is inevitable.
As I approached self-checkout, a new procedure greeted. An employee asked each customer to show the back of his or her Costco card—for photo identification. In some instances, the staffer also asked to see a driver’s license. I inquired why, when making my presentation. Answer: To prevent people from using someone else’s membership, which is not free ($60 to $120 annually).
As I prepared to exit, my thoughts made metaphor of the encounter. If Costco demands that shoppers produce identification to purchase, why shouldn’t Americans verify who they are when voting for their political representatives? Both mechanisms seek to prevent the same thing: fraud. Isn’t being a citizen a form of membership? Shopping at Costco is a privilege. Voting is a privilege—and, more importantly, a responsibility. A responsible citizen should want every vote to be accountable.
Membership misrepresentation steals from Costco. Voter verification can help prevent nefarious parties from trying, and maybe even succeeding, to steal our democracy. As such, I choose stricter regulations that ensure every ballot is cast by the voter registered to do so.