Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Dad Finally Gets His Birth Certificate

My father was born in Codington County, South Dakota, December 12, 1923. He was born at home. The physician who delivered him was not very good at keeping records, so no birth certificate was ever filed at the county office. He was baptized a few weeks later in a local Church. He grew up in Watertown, went off to college at the University of California, was drafted into World War II, served in the war, finished college, returned to South Dakota, started his own business, raised a family, and paid taxes every year, all the while continuing to live about an hour from where he was born.

A week ago he went to renew driver's license. According to recent state regulation passed by a largely Republican legislature, my father, now an 88-year-old man, was required by law to show two pieces of proof that he indeed lived at the home that he has been living for nearly 50 years. He showed two envelopes addressed to his home.

He was also required to show his birth certificate, the one he never had.

They say this was to limit voter fraud. To be fair, South Dakota was involved in such a case in 2002, where thousands of phantom votes were cast, all in the same handwriting.  But now the pendulum has swung in the other direction, About a year ago, the NAACP petitioned the United Nations, claiming that efforts to stop voter fraud are really schemes to prevent minorities from voting; in the case of South Dakota, Native Americans off the Reservations.  Some suspect that there will be voter suppression activities among conservative groups. The United Nations plans to send affiliated election monitors from Europe and central Asia to polling places around South Dakota, as well as North Dakota, Missouri, and New Mexico.

If you think that there was some random coincidence regarding my father's birth certificate, he has been driving for over 60 years. Not once has he been asked to produce his birth certificate. Meanwhile, my mother also had show proof that her married name for the past 50 years, was, in fact, her married name. We're not talking about a police state here. We're talking about a part of the United States. Since my father had no birth certificate, he went to the state office to get one, a Delayed Birth Certificate.

He just showed them his old Driver's License.

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