Although the editorial was actually about the Bush Justice Department's Civil Rights office ignoring the plight of America's minorities - giving the Times a chance to trash our president again - I, like Alton, was curious (out of distrust) about the underlying story. Does the state of Georgia require that poor people buy a photo ID in order to vote? That would indeed smack of the infamous poll tax of old.
Here's Alton's take:
What this piece goes to great pains to avoid telling the reader is that Georgia's law contained a provision that would have provided the ID at no cost to anyone who simply claimed they could not afford it. (link)As it turns out, Alton is right. Not only is the state offering free photo identification cards to the poor, a bus is going on the road to take the campaign - and free ID's - directly to the impoverished.
From a local blogger:
Under attack for Georgia’s new voter ID law, state officials are putting a bus on the road to issue photo identification cards to low-income people.Knowing that the state of Georgia requires that poor people obtain a free ID card in order to vote kind of takes the wind out of the Roanoke Times' sails. It turns out there's nothing for the Justice Department to investigate - unless the Times editorial staff finds it unacceptable for people to be forced to possess a plastic card that was hand-delivered to their front doorstep and cost them not one red cent.
The bus will roll Sept. 1, with the goal of helping Georgians meet the requirement that voters show photo identification at the polls - and defusing criticism that the law will disenfranchise the poor, elderly and minorities. Georgians who haven’t previously had a valid driver’s license or state identification card can obtain a free ID card if they sign a form saying they can’t afford the $20 fee. (link)
So, what to make of all this?
Perhaps that one shouldn't believe everything one reads. And in the case of certain sections of certain publications, believe nothing one reads.