Voter Suppression

I live in Arizona, in the US. I just moved here in the last year, and I need to get registered as a voter in this state. To do that though, I need an Arizona Driver’s License. 

Luckily, despite not owning a car, I already have a different state’s driver’s license so the process is somewhat simplified for me. That also reduces the fees I need to pay from $200+ to $25. But I still need to show up at the DMV to get it. 

The closest DMV is an hour from where I live by bus. It is only open on weekdays, 7:30 am to 5:00 pm. Luckily, once again, I have flexible work hours. I can take an hour to get there, however long (probably an hour?) it’ll take me to get through the DMV, and then take an hour to get back in the middle of the workweek. That’s a thing I can afford to do, I’ll make the time up later. 

But you know who can’t do this? Most poor people who bus to work and definitely couldn’t afford what, for them, is just a $200+ fee to vote. Most people who work regular weekday hours they can’t shift about. And you know who probably just won’t bother? The college students who live here and for whom two hours of riding the bus is too much of a hassle to go through to vote. 

The worst part is that I know they could make it easier to vote. Our university has a state passport center literally a block from campus to make it as easy as possible for graduate students and staff who need to travel to get their passports. If Arizona actually wanted students (and the many, many poorer laborers who live in the cheap housing around campus) to vote, they could make it very easy for us. A DMV could be set up right next to campus, next to the passport center. Or they could let people sign up for a voter identification card or something similar free of charge, rather than shelling out hundreds of dollars for the right to vote. 

But they don’t. And if you think these barriers aren’t intentional I have a bridge to sell you.