Saturday, October 06, 2007

Voter Registration

Tuesday's the last day to register to vote, at least here in Texas, if you want to vote in next month's elections, so for reasons that have nothing to do with me, personally, I was looking at the Texas voter registration form. You can find one here, if you want to follow along :)

What caught my attention was the second question: "Will you be 18 years of age on or before election day?" (and then one is supposed to check either the "yes" box or the "no" box). A couple inches lower on the form, above the line for one's signature, in bold-faced type, it says I understand that giving false information to procure a voter registration is perjury, and a crime under state and federal law. That paragraph goes on to talk about fines and penalties, and finishes up with several declarations, the last of which is that one is not mentally incompetent according to the courts. That leaves only the date and a signature (presumably one's own) to fill in.

Now maybe it's just me, but I see a Catch-22 there. If I were to fill it out truthfully, the way it's worded, I'd have to check "No." And I'd have to leave it at that, because there's no room on the form to explain that I was 18 before your mama was a gleam in anyone's eye, and I ain't never gonna be 18 again. Of course, if it said, instead, "Will you be 18 or older on election day?" I could very easily and truthfully check the "yes" box, but the way the words are printed right there on the pdf from the office of the Secretary of State of the Great State of Texas, I'd have to perjure myself in order to register to vote. Unless I were going to celebrate my 18th birthday between now and election day.

Now, I'm not so obtuse that I can't read between the lines and figure out what they mean, but this is not an instruction manual for a some-assembly-required-project manufactured in a third-world country where English is not the native tongue: this is an official document from the government of one of the 50 Great States. And it's a legal document.

Don't they teach lawyers in Texas to speak English?

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Blogger Trucker Bob said...

Pretty sharp there, ol' eagle-eye. Wonder how many will spot it.

8:24 AM  

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