Claritin-D vs. Voting ID

For my fellow Delawareans who support the idea of same-day voting registration (registering to vote the same day as the election), I’d like you to try this little experiment.

First, go to a pharmacy.

Then ask the pharmacist if you may purchase a decongestant containing pseudoephedrine (e.g., Claritin-D, Sudafed Congestion).

The pharmacist will ask you for your identification. Tell him or her that you don’t have a driver’s license, but you really need the product. The answer will be no.

Then offer to show your utility bill to the pharmacist; tell him or her that’s the only identification you have. The answer will still be no.

Why? Because a 2006 law requires the sale of pseudoephedrine-containing cold medicines to be sold behind the pharmacist’s counter or via a locked cabinet – and the purchaser must show a photo identification to the pharmacist. And the pharmacist can’t cut corners, unless he/she wants to risk the wrath of the Drug Enforcement Administration, not to mention losing his/her pharmacist’s license.

Beside the sales requirement, the law also mandates that retailers keep personal information about individual purchasers for at least two years after the purchase of the medicines.

Today, pharmacists generally have electronic systems that allow the seller to electronically verify the purchaser. Some systems have the capability to check, via one’s driver’s license number, if the purchaser has met or exceeded the federal monthly limit for pseudoephedrine-containing cold medicines.

The reason behind these legal restrictions is pseudoephedrine can be used illegally to produce methamphetamine. Therefore, restricting sales of pseudoephedrine helps to limit production of methamphetamine.

Here’s my public policy question: Why is the identification threshold for purchasing Claritin-D higher than being able to cast a vote?

Isn’t the right to vote important and fundamental to our system of democracy?

Isn’t it important to the integrity of our voting system to ensure that any person casting a ballot has the right to cast that ballot?

And how will a jurisdiction with same-day registration ensure that a person casting a ballot has already met his/or her voting limit (one per state and jurisdiction) on election day? A pharmacist who would rely on crossing fingers and hoping for the best would be running a huge personal risk.

Likewise, a voting system with a come-one-come-all policy for entry to the voting booth is running a huge risk of undermining the people’s faith in their government. Especially when citizens know that it’s tougher to buy an allergy drug than it is to vote.

So think on this my fellow Delawareans. And if this idea it makes you sneeze, be sure to wipe your nose. But don’t try to buy a pseudoephedrine allergy drug without your driver’s license!

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  • Ms. Butler, I consider myself a Preservationist and I am saddened when I see beautiful old architecture destroyed or wooden windows replaced with vinyl. I hate to see traditions lost or forgotten simply for the sake of change and if it takes New Legislation to protect the Old, whether it be Architecture or anything else, then I fully support that New Legislation. A Tradition of Voter Fraud which extends over decades and generations in the Democratic Party, be it Urban or Rural, has made our Nation what it is and we must continuously strive to maintain it’s place on Election Day. Isn’t it already enough that those without transportation have difficulty voting more than once, now you want to complicate the process even further by requiring some type of ‘meaningful’ Identification. It sounds to me as though what you could really be is a “Bully”, who makes always wants to make up your own rules.

  • Kudos to your article, Ms. Butler. Donate blood,sign up for Welfare or food stamps, or Social Security, go to the bank or grocery store and try to cash a check and valid identification is a hard and fast requirement. Same Day Registration is just one more way of taking the responsibility away from the individual to register to vote on time. If you value your vote, then be responsible and get up off of your butt and register ahead of time providing all necessary supporting documentation. There is no check or balance to a system if it cannot assure the integrity of a vote. Without cross-checking registrants data ahead of time, as you so aptly point out, the system is undermined by the risk of multiple votes from the same person. I can only hope that in this Democrat laden state that some sanity will prevail and HB 105 will end up in the dumper where it belongs.