I’m going back a bit to recall this anecdote, but I find it relevant to some discussions I’ve had with people contacting me in regards to my blog posts. I moved to Collinsville, Illinois in 2004. In 2006, there was an election to be held for the office of Governor of the State of Illinois. I decided to run for that office, but also wished to be able to vote (for myself) so I had to go to City Hall and apply for a voter registration card.
The people in the City office were familiar with me for my having challenged the City on its application of the business license ordinance, so the woman at the counter appeared a little agitated at the outset. I told her I wished to register to vote. She produced a small card, approx. 3×5, with small print on one side. She proceeded to ask me my name, address… which seemed odd since she already knew my information from my prior dealings with the City. She then proceeded to administer an oath, reading from the card…
I “state your name”, swear of affirm that I am a citizen of the United States, and a resident of the State of Illinois….
I stopped her and asked, “What exactly is a citizen of the United States?”
She said, “It means American citizen.”
I said, “There is no such thing. Can you tell me the legal definition for US citizen?”
She said, “It means someone living in this country.”
“I disagree, and will not say I am something that someone else is asking me to declare unless I know exactly what they are talking about.”
“Well, you have to take the oath.”
“I’m capable of reading. Let me read it aloud to you and take my own oath.”
I took the card and where I saw the words “US citizen” I drew a line through them and drew a line off to the side and wrote “American”. Where the words “resident” appeared I did the same thing, replacing them with the word “inhabitant”. Where the phrase “State of Illinois” appeared I replaced with “Illinois”. She was not amused. I then proceeded to read the “oath” as I had amended.
She then asked me for some more information on the card.
“What is your social security number?”
“I don’t have one.”
“You have to have a social security number.”
“I disagree, and apparently I don’t have t have one because I am here and just fine, so I am doing well without it.”
“You’ll need one to vote.”
“Well, can you show me a law that required me to possess a social security number?”
“Well, it’s on the card and it’s the law. They would not ask for it if it wasn’t required.”
She then got on the phone and called the St. Clair County Board of Elections. I could only hear one side of the conversation but it went something like this…
“I have a gentleman here who refuses to give me his social for the registration card. Oh… Oh… Ok. Thank you.”
She then said to me, “They said they’ll accept the last 4 digits of your social.”
I said, “You told me it was a law that you get a social, which is 9 digits. I countered with zero, and your counter offer to me is now 4 digits. It this were a law we would not be negotiating, you would demand all 9, therefore, my final offer to you is zero.”
She wrote “refused” on the line and said, “Fine, I’ll send this in, but you won’t get a card.”
So, she took the card with the oath scratched up and no social. About 4 weeks later, guess what came in the mail? Yes, a voter registration card.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. BS! McCoy is making this up. Well, I went to the Board of Elections to get a copy of that card in preparation for such prudent skepticism. However, after looking for some time the clerk at that office told me, “That’s odd, we can’t seem to find it.”
I asked, “You do keep a copy of these for legal purposes, don’t you?”
“Yes, but we can’t seem to find yours.
Well, there you have it. Of course, I have renounced all my dealings and obligations with government since that time, but it is interesting how they must conform your mind to their will in administering their privileges and benefits. The clerks behind the desks are the first level of tyranny and ignorance. Those in power see to it there is an obstacle to asserting your rights by way of these bumbling bureaucrats. They will not, not, issue the card because there may be litigation whereby testimony would be given to a jury or the media, thereby exposing the deceit. It is better to issue the card and suppress everything else. They can always say, “Well, Mr. McCoy was issued a card and we would have not done so if he had not provided the information required.” So, proof of the card is proof of the compliance. Sorry, in this case, not so much.