IDs? We Don’t Need No Stinking IDs!

Perhaps I had forgotten since the last time I voted — or more likely purged my memory of it — but I naturally reached for my wallet to pull out my ID this afternoon at the polling station in Montgomery County, Md. (oh, for still voting in Chicago, when I would have been pulling out my wallet to slip the pollwatcher a few bills for the pleasure of doubling or tripling my electoral experience). Before I could even get the offending billfold out of my pocket, the election judge reared up like Sister Penguin in The Blues Brothers and admonished me in a tone of mixed superiority and sternness that Maryland doesn’t even allow IDs to be shown in the polling station. Not “not required,” mind you, but not allowed. All that was missing from her verbal slapping was a ruler cracking across my knuckles.

I guess I understand, though it’s a little odd to think that the Chinese-food delivery guy scrutinizes my ID like a TSA trainee when I try to pay for my take-out with a bank check. But voting? Can’t take such things so seriously, you know.

Michael Auslin — Michael Auslin is a resident scholar and the director of Japan studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he specializes in Asian regional security and political issues.

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