This time of year, you tend to think about those who welcome you with open arms, ready to share their abundance.
And if you think I'm talking about Thanksgiving family gatherings, you really must have just come in on a pumpkin truck. I'm referring instead to the Harris County Administration Building, where early voting is great and no waiting, at least when I went, early Wednesday.
They were brisk, friendly and efficient, happy to have folks show up -- although one worker said they'd already had more people vote in two days than they did for the entire first week of early voting in 2004.
Although one entire political party has been bitching about how people don't even need a photo ID to vote, that's always been the case. Voter ID cards don't have photos; it's not because we have a presidential candidate who's admitted to having African-American blood -- which we all do, c'mon, even though some of you people can't clap to the beat, much less dance.
Here's what any county in Texas (and probably applicable to rest of the country) deems as acceptable documentation as proof of identification:
1. A driver's license or personal ID card issued by the Texas DPS or a similar document issued to the person by an agency or another state, regardless of whether the license or card has expired (italics Tunnel Mole's).
2. A form of ID containing the person's photograph that establishes the person's identity.
3. A birth certificate or other document confirming birth that is admissible in a court of law and establishes a person's identity.
4. US citizenship papers issued to the person.
5. A US passport issued to the person.
6. Official mail addressed to the person by name from a governmental entity.
7. A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter.
8. Any other form of ID prescribed by the Secretary of State's Office.
Can we put it any clearer? As long as you succumbed to an urge to register to vote at some point, even if it was during a drunken state of despair during the NixonReaganBushBush years, you can vote! We checked with the folks working the Admin Building early voting:
What about convicted felons? Can they vote? (Not me, of course, Tunnel Mole was quick to point out.)
Yes, "as long as they've been exonerated." (We're almost hoping Willie Horton will drag his ass over to the polls and vote, just out of spite.)
Anyone who has a bunch of parking tickets, 'i.e., scofflaws? (Not me, of course, Tunnel Mole was quick to point out.)
But will they be arrested on the spot?
Deadbeat dads? The ones who don't pay child support? (Not me, of course, Tunnel Mole was quick to point out.)
As long as they haven't committed a felony.
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But before we could come up with some more creative scenarios that might conceivably make someone reluctant to show up at the polls, one of the workers Googled the election code for us, and pointed it out, to appease any questions. And another worker said you can even vote at some churches on election day--"I'm election judge at my church in southeast Houston," he said. All we know is he's really friendly, and it's a Baptist church, so get out your guide to houses of worship and pray that your vote counts!
By the way, they issue you a spunky little sticker for your coat jacket lapel (or wifebeater tee, whatever your mode of dress) that reads: My vote counted! It's got an American flag, so we immediately suspected it was a plant by the Socialist GOP to keep the rest of us from uprising. But there was no "issued by Diebold, made in China," so maybe it's just a sign that the fix is NOT in this time.
Keep hope alive!
-- Tunnel Mole