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Saturday
Jan072012

Illinois Residents Need ID to Buy Drano, But Not to Vote

Project 21’s Stacy SwimpOne of the more controversial laws enacted at the beginning of 2012 is one in Illinois that requires people who purchase caustic substances such as drain cleaner to present government-issued identification to the store clerk, who then makes a detailed report of the buyer and the substance.

Passed into law after drain cleaner was used as a weapon in an attack that left two Chicago women scarred, one hardware store owner told CBS News that this new regulation now requires his staff to report on the purchases of dozens of products.  Rather than deal with the hassle or customer backlash, the Jewel-Osco grocery chain reportedly removed covered items from their stores altogether.

Retailers who fail to comply can be fined up to $1,500 per incident.

While Illinois now has a law requiring government-issued identification to buy Drano to protect the citizenry, it lacks similar means to protect them from voter fraud.

There is currently proposed legislation to require photo identification in order to vote, but a similar bill died in committee in 2008 on a partisan vote.  As leadership has not changed hands since then, it can be expected that the current bills will languish.  State Representative Jack Franks (D-Woodstock), the mind and the will behind the Liquid-Plumr Limitation, did not serve in the committee that tabled the voter ID measure but was a member of the legislature at the time.

Opponents of the ballot protection measure in 2008 – much like critics of similar measures in force or under consideration today – said such a requirement as getting a valid ID would create a cumbersome burden to some voters.  But now the hypothetical poor old woman without a driver’s license in Illinois can still vote but cannot keep her bathtub from backing up without having to call a plumber (likely at least $50 to walk in the front door vs. $6.99).  Where is the compassion for those with bad pipes?

Project 21 member Stacy Swimp, who had a certification in pesticide application, understands why lawmakers might want to further regulate certain acids and other dangerous chemicals.  But he also realizes that there is a disconnect in logic when the same people wanting an ID at a hardware store don’t think the same vigilance should apply at a polling place.

Stacy says:

Having been certified as a pesticide applicator in the past and knowing the harm pesticides can inflict if they are used maliciously, I understand why some might want to have a means of identifying who obtains them and for what reasons.  The same might apply to concerns about guns, fertilizers that can make explosives, over-the-counter medications that can make illicit drugs and – in this case – acids and other dangerous chemicals that could be used as weapons.  So it’s only logical that people who have these concerns would also want similar identification rules to prevent vote fraud.

The new law in Illinois tracking the sale of Drano was motivated by concern over a single incident.  There are many instances of documented voter fraud all over the nation in just the past few years – and that voter fraud in Illinois in 1960 may have thrown the presidential election.  If people must provide a government-issued ID to unclog their drains, they certainly should do the same for the very important task of selecting their elected leaders.

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