Daily Debate: Oct. 6, 2015

Whether or not we openly acknowledge it, voter suppression still goes on in the United States. Nine states passed or introduced legislation that could have infringed upon the rights of citizens in 2013; six did so in 2014.

Voter suppression is commonly associated with racism, especially against black people, but it also impacts the elderly, American Indians, students, and people with disabilities. Over thirty states have considered laws that would require voters to present government-issued photo ID to vote and around 11% of Americans do not have that ID, which would place an undue burden on them or would strip them completely of the ability to vote. Other attempts to limit voting include cutting back on early voting and making it harder for people who’ve gone to the wrong precinct to vote.1

Voter suppression is unconstitutional, but some people support it out of fear of voter fraud; it also can gain support because it bills fighting voter fraud can actually sound benign in nature.

What do you think can be done to limit or combat voter suppression? Has your state passed any laws that you think might count as voter suppression? Have you personally experienced voter suppression? Do strict voter ID laws need to exist to protect against voter fraud? Or is voter fraud not a significant enough problem to warrant the laws?

  1. ACLU: 1, 2, 3 

‘Cause It Feels So Empty Without Me

guess who's back, back again - eminem gif

Guess who’s back…back again?

Backstreet's Back

If you said the Backstreet Boys, you are wrong in so many ways.

*NSYNC is here

If you said Dale Jackson, then obviously you’ve been reading my tweets for the past few hours. The man that I have had either blocked or muted for years has once again deemed it necessary to bother me.1 Apparently, people can’t post links to petitions about voter suppression without earning an annoying tweet from the awful and annoying Mr. Jackson.

The “conversation” quickly devolved into him calling me stupid2 and wanting me to prove that he’s a racist. 3 I’m pretty sure that his racism could be inferred by anyone who read his tweets or listened to his talk show. I don’t. I try to pretend like the man doesn’t exist. His talk show makes my anxiety levels go up because it seems like he’s constantly yelling. Despite what some people think, anger and rage are not my cup of tea.

Anyway, Dale and his followers4 seem to think that voter suppression will not happen as a result of Alabama closing 31 of its driver license offices, leaving only 28, because most people get their licenses using other methods. Well, that’s nice, but it’s still possible and any possible injustice is something that people should be alarmed by.5

I'm allergic to bullshit

They, including Dale,6789 also thought that it was super easy1011 to get a free photo voter ID from the state, which I’m guessing is either from willful ignorance or laziness. Either way, I was amazed at how often they got it wrong. I started to write a tweet out to send to one of them, informing them of their ignorance, but it ended up being extremely long. I realized it was actually almost blog post length, so I thought I’d post it here rather than on Twitter or an app for super-long tweets:

If you think you can get a photo voter ID easily in the state of Alabama, you’re wrong.

First of all, you can’t get one if you currently have any other form of recognized (at precincts) state-issued photo ID. If your other ID expires tomorrow, you better have someone bring you to the registrar two days from now. And they may try to convince you to get your license renewed, even if you can no longer drive or cannot afford the fee for the non-driver ID. (Paying to procure an ID for the purpose of voting is a violation of laws prohibiting poll taxes.)

To get the ID, you have to bring your birth certificate to the registrar. No big deal, right? Except that many people don’t have a copy on hand. If you DON’T have one, you’ll need to get one. And to get one, you have to pay a fee. (This falls under the poll tax classification, but you can challenge getting it for yourself & authorize the registrar to get it from ADPH for free.)

Even if you bring every piece of required information with you, there’s no guarantee that they will know what to do with it. I wasn’t the only person who had trouble. Three or four people came in while I waited & got turned away for bs reasons. I almost got turned away for bs reasons & was told I needed to pay for the ID several times before the actual county registrar came in & told them that was unconstitutional.

And you may have difficulty finding the registrar office. I’ve seen several people say, “Just go to the courthouse.” (I thought that was where the registrar in my county was, too. It wasn’t. It was miles away & difficult to find.)

Now once you have the ID, you may end up having other issues. You know how you use a photo ID at medical appointments? Yeah, they don’t have to use this one. It actually says you can’t use it for non voting purposes. Some offices & hospitals take this seriously, which makes it difficult to get admitted to a clinic/hospital.

I know that I’ve already shared this story on Twitter and on here. I’m fairly certain that many of those who were claiming that the IDs were easy to get either won’t read this or, if they read it, they will say that it’s lies or exaggerations or something along those lines. Still, I felt it was necessary to refute their ignorance. Personally, I think that a lot of people who think that the voter suppression isn’t going to happen with the office closures or that the IDs aren’t hard to get are just misinformed.12 They may not mean to be ignorant on an issue, but that doesn’t mean that that ignorance shouldn’t be challenged or called out.

But, Dale, if you ever feel the need to contact me again, take this advice:

please find someone else to be creepy with

I’m serious.

please leave

No, really, I am.

do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?

Go away. Stay away.

go away

Buh-bye now.

bye bye bye

Edited – 10/06/2015 at 11:58 am to change of to if in this sentence: First of all, you can’t get one if you currently have any other form of recognized (at precincts) state-issued photo ID.

  1. It seems like every year since 2008 or 2009 he shows up. 

  2. Get a new line, Dale. 

  3. Get a new schtick, Dale. 

  4. Remember my lemmings/sheep comment from before? 

  5. Surprise, surprise: Injustice isn’t good. It’s actually really bad and we should try to make sure that it never happens. 




  9. I did acknowledge it a few times. And I told him how he was wrong a few times. He ignored that. 



  12. Not you, Dale. 

Some Days Even My Lucky Rocketship Underpants Don’t Help

Late last week, I rescheduled my appointment with the UAB OB/GYN clinic to get my Depo Provera shot on Tuesday to Thursday afternoon at 2:30.1 I asked that the nature of the appointment also change, since I had done some reading and found out that Depo Provera increases the chance of bone loss. I was told that since I wasn’t dude for an annual visit until October 15 that I would have to make it into a birth control consultation. I said that was fine.

On Thursday afternoon, I was in a pretty good mood. I knew that it was possible, if the doctor took too long or there was some unexpected wait going on, I was going to have to stay at the clinic longer than usual because my mom had a dentist appointment, I still felt relatively optimistic. That should have made me nervous, but it didn’t. I was even joking around.

That changed after I started signing in.

The receptionist started by saying that someone should have gotten in touch with me. She asked if I was on Medicare. I told her I had Humana Medicare and Medicaid. She said that the Business Office had told them that Medicare wouldn’t cover my birth control consultation. I thought that there must have been some misunderstanding. Medicare has never denied a birth control consultation that I’ve been to, including the ones that I went to when my gynecologist was trying to come up with a treatment for the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, but my hormones weren’t taking to the ring or the Seasonale or any of the many hormonal birth control methods that I tried. And I knew that, as a Medicaid patient, there shouldn’t be a rule against birth control access.2 I asked if she could appeal it and she said not today. That might seem like a perfectly reasonable statement for her, but I’m on a clock. Depo shots are only effective for so long. And once the progesterone has gotten out of my system, my dysfunctional uterine bleeding or, more specifically, my menometrorrhagia3 will act up again. I will bleed for days, weeks, or months on end until my iron stores are depleted and my anemia comes back with a vengeance.

Birth control is life or death for treatment for me. Even if it weren’t, denying access to it would be wrong. So I started drafting tweet after tweet of how horrifying the situation was.

Since I had no access to the internet until I got home, I accumulated around 50 tweets. And I started posting them once I got home. It wasn’t long before some of my friends and followers responded. It was another 18 hours or so before someone from Humana did.4

I wasn’t just sad, I was also pissed.

Lately, we’ve had some major budget cuts in Alabama’s social programs. Those cuts plus the misguided #DefundPP movement (and other anti-reproductive health crowds) are part of why birth control isn’t easily accessible to people who need it. For. Whatever Reason.

And I started thinking about how people think that defunding reproductive health intiaitives will save taxpayers money. It won’t. Birth control actually saves these whiny people a lot of money in other social programs. It saves them thousands of dollars in treatment costs for each menstruating person who uses them as part of their care for anemia, endometriosis, PCOS, etc. It saves money by doing its original purpose: contraception.

And I started thinking about how the current #DefundPP aren’t the first group to promote defunding the service. Some of those were successful, leading to clinics closing around the country. One of the clinics that closed was Huntsville’s. That closure directly impacted my life yesterday. I wouldn’t be wondering if I’ll get back on birth control in time to prevent the anemia’s return if that clinic was still open. I got even more angry as I came to that realization.

I started thinking about the consultations that my mom has to go for with her diabetes, kidneys, blood clots, bones, and blood pressure. This sort of thing never happens when she needs a medicine changed. Keeping patients away from treatment is negligent.

And I drew my line in the sand on Twitter.

I wouldn’t even apologize for all of the tweets because I knew that the tweets were the result of someone, somewhere fucking up. And that person was not me.

And I wondered if advocates for reproductive rights had ever even heard of this sort of thing happening.

The last line of this pretty much summed up my feelings:

And, as I wrote the 50+ tweets, I waited for my mom’s dentist appointment to be over.

As a result of chronically dry mouth (partly from the diabetes, partly from medications), most of her teeth have cavities. Her insurance (also a version of Humana Medicare and a secondary dental insurance from another company) is so great that it may cover $14 on a $108 appointment. And she needs over $3600 for treatment of 3 of those teeth. Only one filling is covered per year, and it even isn’t covered completely. The longer her cavities wait, the worse they get.

My dad and I haven’t gone to dental appointments in years because all the money for dental treatments goes to mom’s because she’s got the worst ones. Dad has cavities and teeth that break. He needs a lot of cavities filled.

At my last dental appointment, I was told I had an abscess of the nerve in a tooth that I had crowned in middle school. I also need tens of thousands of dollars in orthodontic work and even pricier surgery to correct bite problems.

So these are the joys of the healthcare system and the dental care system of this country. Fun, right?

  1. Because of the MRI appointment being scheduled for Tuesday. 

  2. Medicaid in Alabama promotes itself as a service that works with family planning and that birth control consultations are part of that package. 

  3. Menometrorrhagia is prolonged or excessive bleeding. For me, it’s both. 

  4. I still haven’t gotten that part sorted out yet.