Residents of the SouthCoast who support requiring a valid photo ID to vote in Massachusetts are encouraged to sign a petition to place a ballot initiative to that effect before voters next year. Petition organizers must collect more than 80,000 signatures by November 17 to proceed to the next step in securing a spot on the 2022 ballot. They are hoping to get 120,000 signatures.

Voter ID is not a new idea; in fact, an ID is required in several states, including nearby Rhode Island, and Georgia, where revisions to election reform laws created such a stink earlier this year resulting in Major League Baseball moving the annual All-Star Game from Atlanta.

For years, opponents of voter ID laws have used straw man arguments to suggest the practice would disenfranchise minority voters or prevent some people from voting. The State House News Service reports Massachusetts Secretary of State Democrat William Galvin, who opposes the Massachusetts ballot initiative, claims a voter ID requirement would keep older folks from voting.

"Many older persons who are very good voters have been persuaded or have chosen to give up other forms of ID, such as a driver's license," Galvin said. "The idea that they would be precluded from voting is absurd."

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As Col. Sherman Potter used to say on M*A*S*H, "horse pucky!" Anyone who opposes voter ID opposes a clean election and you must question the motives of such a position.

Voter ID is the right thing and the obvious thing after last year's fiasco of a national election. Anyone unable to afford or acquire a state-issued photo ID could be given one at no expense to them. Most voters already have a driver's license, military ID, or state-issued ID that would suffice.

Organizers of the initiative petition are mobilizing along the SouthCoast and need help. Anyone looking to sign the petition or is interested in helping to collect signatures in their community should contact Somerset Republican Town Committeewoman Jess Machado at (401) 585-2402. Attending rallies was fun, but now it's time to get to work to ensure the integrity of our election system and the future of our country.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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