Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pennsylvania's Voter ID Law: "A Solution in Search of a Problem"


Pennsylvania has a problem with their voter ID laws, but it's not because of rampant voter fraud as the Republicans want us to believe. In fact, as in most states, everyone agrees that voter fraud is almost non-existent. Yet state legislatures keeping passing laws forcing everyone to get a picture ID or lose their right to vote in the Presidential election this year. This will put the burden mainly on urban dwellers who use public transportation and therefore do not have a driver's license, as well as the elderly who have been voting for years, thank you very much, without a picture ID.

Unlike Florida and Texas, Pennsylvania is not a state covered by Section 5 of the Voters Rights Act which requires preclearance from the Justice Department before voting laws can be changed. Only states that had low voter turnout under 50% in the early 60s were required to follow the preclearance rule. So Pennsylvania will be a test state, and possibly ground-breaking for other "swing" states that might try to suppress the African American vote using Voter ID Laws.

The ACLU is taking the State of Pennsylvania to court, while the Feds are looking into whether the law will impede voting.

Philadelphia Inquirer: Voter ID Fight Heads to Court
Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and other groups will spend the next week in Commonwealth Court trying to persuade a judge to grant a swift and immediate injunction. The Republican-controlled legislature passed the law four months ago with the stated purpose of discouraging election fraud.


The ACLU is suing on behalf of 10 Pennsylvanians who do not have driver's licenses and who contend that the photo-ID requirement violates the state constitution, depriving them of their right to vote.

In legal papers filed last week, the civil liberties group says that those 10 are the tip of a human iceberg, that as many as a million or more Pennsylvania voters lack the types of photo ID that the law requires.

The ACLU included in its filing a surprising concession from state officials: a written stipulation that the state cannot pinpoint any instance of the kind of voter-impersonation fraud the new law aims to prevent.

The state stipulated that it is "not aware of any incidents of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania," and has "no direct knowledge of in-person voter fraud elsewhere." State officials also said they would offer no evidence that "in-person voter fraud is likely to occur in November 2012 in the absence of the photo ID law."

Talking Points Memo: DOJ Investigates ID Law

In a three-page letter sent to Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele on Monday, DOJ requested state data on registered voters as well as the state’s list of individuals with driver’s licenses and ID cards.

Additionally, DOJ requested information on the state’s efforts to educate voters about the new law as well as documents and records supporting a March 14 statement from the office of Gov. Tom Corbett (R) which claimed “99 percent of Pennsylvania’s already have acceptable photo IDs.” (The state’s own data did not support that figure.) Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez requested Pennsylvania send the information to federal authorities within 30 days.

Pennsylvania has said that over 750,000 voters lack an adequate form of voter ID, a number greater than President Obama’s margin of victory in the state in 2008. One top Republican even said the voter ID law would help Mitt Romney win the state. As TPM reported, the public relations firm contracted to educate the public about the new voter ID law is stacked with Republicans.

Good discussion of this story on Hardball yesterday:

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  1. "A closer look at the data revealed that some of the dead people were not only registered, but somehow, even voted, several years after their death.....NBC Bay Area found several other examples, too. People like Sara Schiffman of San Leandro who died in 2007 yet still voted in 2008, or former Hayward police officer Frank Canela Tapia who has voted 8 times since 2005, though he died in 2001."

    "More than 1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as voters.Approximately 2.75 million people have registrations in more than one state."

    "At least two dead voters showed up to vote at least once in a Maryland general election between 2004 and 2008, according to a voter registration watchdog group.... The group said it found several potential dead voters, voters who registered after they had died and a living Maryland resident who has been voting twice in elections for years."

    "Based upon Judicial Watch's analysis of publicly available data for the November 2010 general election, the number of persons listed on voter registration rolls in 12 counties in the State of Indiana exceeds 100% of the total voting-age population in those counties."

    "Based on an examination of the data in the 2010 U.S. Census and the EACReport, the number of individuals listed on voter registration rolls in the following three countiesin the State of Ohio exceeds 100% of the total voting age population in these counties: Auglaize,Wood, and Morrow."

    "A nonpartisan election integrity group has sent legal notices to 160 counties across the U.S. that it says have more voters on its registration rolls than actual live, eligible voters"

    Florida Division of Elections spokesman Chris Cate told reporters last week that forms filed by the state Democratic Party, the Florida New Majority Education Fund and the National Council of La Raza involved "potential irregular voter registration activities" that "constituted a legally sufficient complaint of voter registration fraud."

    The truth is simple: Without voter fraud, a lot of Democrats wouldn't be in office. During at least one point in recent years, blatant voter fraud (Al Franken) changed the majority party in Congress.

    The Left doesn't want the gravy train to end, but they know full well that if they say "Hey, we've got a good racket going with this fraud thing, and we don't want it to end" it wouldn't fly with the public. So instead, they pull out the old standby and play the race-card.

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