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Columbia Missourian

LETTER: Disabled voters should be allowed to get voter IDs

By Marla Grothoff, Columbia
May 5, 2009 | 11:43 a.m. CDT

As we hear the same words over and over — celebrate diversity, equality, acceptance — I am appalled that those who use these words the most are the ones who fail to live up to them. I would like to point out the recent debate going on about requiring a photo ID for voters. The Boone County circuit clerk and the secretary of state are failing to live up to these words. Both of these women are arguing that disabled people are not able to get a photo ID for voting. How presumptuous and insulting of these two women to believe that just because you have a disability you are incapable of obtaining a photo ID. This is belittling and degrading to every person with a disability. Just because someone may have a physical handicap does not mean they are second-class citizens. It does not mean they are less confident or not as smart as someone who can walk. No one should be allowed to tell someone over and over that they are incapable of doing something. What if someone told Beethoven that because he was deaf he could not write music? What if someone had told Einstein that because he had a learning disability he could not achieve great things?

I have a disability. I'm a quadriplegic confined to a wheelchair. However, I am not too stupid or too incapable of going out and obtaining a photo ID. I'm extremely offended by these women stating that I'm not capable of getting a photo ID. Would you tell someone that because of their skin color they are not capable of getting a photo ID? Would you tell somebody that because of their sex they are not capable of getting a photo ID? How dare you insult someone who might have a physical disability. Do you think you're better than them because you can walk? Do you think you're smarter? I am paralyzed between the C3, C4 level. I use my wheelchair 24 /7. I roll it wherever I need to go. I take the buses to help me get there. I wish I had a car that I could get around in; unfortunately, I can't afford one that I can drive from my chair. I don't whine about it; it's a fact of life. I do what I have to do. This is simply a political copout. This is just another aspect of the government trying to be Big Brother to those persons who are not in powerful positions. Shame on you. Stop belittling and putting down disabled people. You are the handicap to us.