Random thoughts roundup

November 22, 2006

Plenty of Boston folks have gotten up in arms over the BUCR offering a caucasian scholarship. (For those non BU students out there, the BUCR is the Boston University College Republicans.) To summarize, the BUCR is protesting the University’s half-ride scholarship for Hispanic students (I’m using their language; I can’t figure out why they wouldn’t say Latino) by offering a privately funded, $250 scholarship for students who are at least 25% caucasian, full-time undergraduates, and currently pulling a 3.2 GPA or better. They believe that race-based scholarships constitute bigotry, and believe that scholarships should be based solely on merit and/or financial need. (I’m being generous here; the Metro article I read this morning mentioned financial need, but the above link only mentions merit.)

Personally, I’d like to talk to the guy who ends up applying. Cause you know someone will leak names.

From the AP and CNN.com, starting January 23rd, the US will require everyone entering the country to show a passport. This includes US citizens, who were previously able to enter using other forms of ID, like driver’s licenses. (Licenses, I might add, being considerably easier to change than passports when it comes to matters of trans* name changes and the like.)

And, finally, the Israeli Supreme Court requires the government to register the marriages of same-sex couples who wed abroad. This comes from a Boston Globe news in brief article online, so it’s a little unclear what this really means–the Globe calls the decsion “limited in scope”–but as a 6-1 decision, it looks like a step in the right direction.

Election day thoughts

November 7, 2006

I’m a little irritated with myself for forgetting to bring a bank statement with me this morning so that I could go straight to voting after work, but luckily the polling place is located just down the block from my apartment so it’s not actually that much of an inconvenience.

According to the Massachusetts Board of Elections, because I registered to vote by mail after 2003, I’ll have to bring proof of address with me tonight when I vote because it’s a federal election. What confuses me is that I didn’t have to bring this proof when I voted two months ago in the democratic primary. I was surprised, in fact, to find that I only had to say my name and address–I had to provide no proof of either.

Which is as it should be. I’m sure others have written more eloquently on the problems with requiring identification to vote–how expensive things like driver’s licenses are, the fact that a lot of people have perfectly valid government-issued identification that doesn’t have a current address–but I still have to stress how problematic these requirements are. They’re particularly problematic because they’re so inconsistent, from state to state and even from district to district. Check on your state requirements here.

I have to wonder why there’s no universal voter registration card. As in, why not provide notarized registration cards that can be presented at polling places? There would still have to be some kind of identity verification, of course, but it wouldn’t have to come in the form of proof of address. Date of birth, for example, or social security number, just to prevent card theft. The card itself would only have to include name and district, and possibly party affiliation.

To my knowledge, no homeless advocacy groups have spoken out on this issue, but the proof of address policy is also discriminatory. Everyone eligible to vote should be able to, regardless of current housing situation.