With all the hysterics associated with our elections, one state has kept its sights set straight ahead and hasn’t deviated from the course. By doing so, New Hampshire’s governor signed HB-1264 into law, a law that will shore up the state’s voting system and ensure that non-residents and non-citizens can no longer pour into the Granite State and vote early and often.

From now on, New Hampshire voters must show proof of residency before being allowed to vote. This is a big deal in so many ways. First, passage of the law, by definition, acknowledges that non-residents have taken advantage of the system and voted in New Hampshire’s elections. Second, it provides a vehicle to make doubly certain that only those who are legally entitled to vote cast their ballots.

Part of this move may have its beginnings in undercover video shot by Project Veritas. The video showed, in no uncertain terms, that people did in fact enter New Hampshire polling places and cast illegal ballots. One offender, caught on camera, asked how long she must stay in New Hampshire before she “…could vote today.”

Notice the word “today.” This lady wasn’t asking how long it would take to fulfill a New Hampshire residency requirement. Instead, she genuinely thought that if she tarried a while at the polling place, she would eventually be allowed to vote.

Currently, 34 states have laws requiring proof of residency prior to voting. Maine, however, requires no proof whatsoever. But in time that may change. A Republican victory in November can shore up lawmakers’ resolve, and Maine, along with sister state New Hampshire, may eventually require proof of residency before voting.

Dubious wisdom

Despite vociferous objections from Democrats, asking someone to show proof of residency before voting is in no way discrimination against low-income or minority people. Everyone, no matter who or where, can obtain solid proof of residence.

Let’s consider everything else we must show identification for. The biggest, of course, concerns the purchase of alcoholic beverages. Maine Law requires that anyone who appears to be under 40 years old must show proof of age. This seems rather silly, since a 40-year-old person has a very different appearance from a 21-year old.

And now it’s gone from the ridiculous to the absurd. I am 70 years old and was recently refused when I tried to purchase alcohol. The clerk cited the store’s “new system.” She did not elaborate and in fact, was combative. I told her that I was far too old to be carded and left the store, never to return.

Other stores have adopted similarly Draconian measures to thwart those under 21 from buying booze. So here’s what strikes me as ludicrous. A 70-year old person must show a photo ID to buy a bottle of wine, but people from other states can enter a Maine polling place and sign up to vote, no ID required. We truly don’t see the forest for the trees.

I well remember Sept. 15, 1968. I was a park ranger and took half a day off work to drive to Belfast and have my photo ID taken at the “Green Front.” The Green Front was the state liquor store, known for its trademark green front.

It was a warm, charming fall day, with salubrious temperatures and azure-blue skies. It took less than one month from the photo session to get my new State of Maine Liquor Commission Authorized Identification card. That card was never rescinded and to my knowledge, still remains valid.

That fall, I voted for Richard M. Nixon for president. And unlike today, I was compelled to pay a poll tax. This was a tax on male voters. Only a few people around today can recall this arcane tax. I mention it because while we didn’t like it and thought it was discriminatory, and it was, we didn’t go on the television news, didn’t march around with placards and didn’t threaten or demean anyone.

In other words, Maine voters of yesteryear took everything in stride. After all, the most important thing anyone can do is vote. And we appreciated that right. Had I needed to show my new Liquor Commission ID, I would have been more than happy. After all, voting is such a privilege.

With all this talk about voting, I’d be remiss by not mentioning the latest round of hysterics by Democrats and the news media regarding President Trump’s meeting with Vladimir Putin. Trump has, in Democrat eyes, gone from a supposed bumbling nincompoop who shouldn’t be trusted to entreat with foreign powers, to someone who was afraid to admit to Russian election interference.

We must realize that Trump won the election fair and square. The Russians did not in any way alter anyone’s vote. Liberals voted for Clinton, working people and conservatives in general voted for Trump. There were no Ruskies sitting outside our polling places, waving cosmic-ray guns at us to influence our votes.

We all voted, some for Trump, some for Hillary and some for Socialist Bernie Sanders. And for that privilege, showing proof of residency is a small price indeed.

Tom Seymour is a freelance magazine and newspaper writer, book author, naturalist and forager. He lives in Waldo.