Voter fraud a non-issue in Pennsylvania
Despite Republican outcries to the contrary, in a lawsuit against the new Pennsylvania voter ID law, Senior Deputy Attorney General Patrick S. Crawley stipulated along with an attorney for the petitioners that:
There have been no investigations or prosecutions of in person voter fraud in Pennsylvania; and the parties do not have direct personal knowledge of any such investigations or prosecutions in other states;
The parties are not aware of any incidents of in person voter fraud in Pennsylvania and do not have direct personal knowledge of in person voter fraud elsewhere;
Respondents will not offer any evidence in this action that in person voter fraud has in fact occurred in Pennsylvania or elsewhere;
The sole rationale for the Photo ID law that will be introduced by Respondent is that contained in Respondents’ Amended answer to Interrogatory 1, served June 7, 2012.
Respondents will not offer any evidence or arguments that in person voter fraud is likely to occur in November 2012 in the absence of the Photo ID law.
Neither the Governor nor the Attorney General will testify at the hearing on this matter.
Those statements essentially eliminate known fraud as a rationale for requiring photo IDs in the law. The stipulation was signed this month as part of legal documents in a lawsuit, according to a recent pretrial brief, that attests the “Pennsylvania’s new Photo ID Law (or, the ‘Law’) impermissibly burdens the right to vote by imposing requirements that will disenfranchise and deter qualified Pennsylvanians from exercising their express and fundamental right to vote, which is guaranteed by Article VII, Section 1 and Article I, Section 5 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.” The bottom line is accessing the birth records needed for obtaining an approved ID can be insurmountable for American citizens from third world countries, the elderly, and many others.
The lawsuit was initiated by a number of state residents and the ACLU on some of their behalf, the League of Women Voters, NAACP, and Homeless Advocacy Project. Plus, as of yesterday, Stephanie Singer, a Democrat and city commissioner in Philadelphia where the voter ID law may hurt the most, joined Philadelphia's amicus brief supporting the lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Gov. Thomas Corbett and Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele.
Commissioner Singer’s immediate concern is based on state figures proclaiming about 572,000 Pennsylvanians lack ID issued from Pennsylvania's department of transportation of which almost half reside in Philadelphia. If PennDOT begins issuing a new form of voter ID as suggested, it would have to produce more than 15,000 ID cards every business day between August 26, the date the procedure is supposed to take effect and Election Day. Singer's deputy commissioner reasoned, “Philadelphia voters are in jeopardy at this point.”
Right now, petitioners seek to block enforcement of the photo ID prior to the November election. An injunction hearing is scheduled to begin in Commonwealth Court at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.
So, why is Corbett’s administration spending millions of dollars defending and implementing a voter ID law with little or no proven benefit to the voting public? Why, in the first place, did the state legislature pass the voter ID bill and the governor sign it into law? Why pass a law that holds the potential to diminish the rights of women, seniors, the poor, and minorities?
State GOP house leader Mike Turzai, for one, summed up the reason nicely. The law is designed to put Pennsylvania in Romney’s Republican win column during this presidential election year. Something, many Democrats had proclaimed for quite a while.
The status of the injunction is in the hands of the court, but a clearer message may be delivered by the public on Election Day. The polls offer an opportunity for those who can cast election ballots on November 6 (not only in Pennsylvania but around the nation) to pass judgment on any partisan manipulations impacting basic American rights.
Learn more about the voter ID lawsuit or support the petitioners at www.aclu.org/voting-rights
, and www.homelessadvocacyproject.org
. Register to vote or get answers to questions by visiting www.votespa.com