Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law is nothing more than an attempt to suppress groups who traditionally vote democratic, of which there are 785k registered to vote who lack a photo ID.
According to MotherJones, UFO sightings are 3615 times more common than instances of voter fraud, and yet Republicans are treating this as a dire emergency to prevent some imaginary government takeover.
Widespread disenfranchising in Pennsylvania
By Steve Benen
About a week ago, Republican Mike Turzai, Pennsylvania’s House Majority Leader, made a startling confession. Boasting about the state’s new voter-ID law, which was ostensibly about the integrity of the electoral process, Turzai bragged that the law “is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”
The surprising candor helped reinforce what Democrats have argued all along: these laws are about disenfranchising voters Republicans don’t like. The right usually maintains the trumped up “voter fraud” pretense, but once in a great while, a GOP official will slip and tell the truth.
And the truth, at least in the Keystone State, is that Republicans are prepared to block a huge chunk of the voting-age population from participating in their own democracy.
Nearly 10 percent of Pennsylvania’s registered voters do not have photo identification cards from the state transportation department and could be ineligible to vote in November under the state’s new Republican-backed voter ID law.
The Pennsylvania Department of State reported Tuesday that more than 758,000 registered voters lack a standard driver’s license or a non-driver photo ID. That’s 9.2 percent of the state’s 8.2 million voters.
In Philadelphia, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by about 6-1, 18 percent of the city’s registered voters do not have the state photo ID, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
One of them is a 93-year-old widow by the name of Viviette Applewhite.
Can this change the outcome of the 2012 election? Actually, yes.
Most recent polling shows President Obama with fairly strong leads in Pennsylvania, but I suspect none of the surveys account for the fact that Republican state policymakers just put new, unnecessary barriers 9.2% of Pennsylvania’s voters and the ballot box.
The next question, of course, is what the demographic breakdown might be for the 758,000 registered voters in the state who lack photo ID, but if I had to guess, I’d say a very high majority are either poor, students, minorities, or some combination therein. In other words, they’re likely Democratic voters — which is why Republicans approved this law in the first place.
UFO Sightings Are More Common Than Voter Fraud
The GOP says election fraud is rampant. A close look at the numbers shows there’s no evidence of that.
—By Hamed Aleaziz, Dave Gilson, and Jaeah Lee | July/August 2012 Issue
Since 2001, nearly 1,000 bills that would tighten voting laws have been introduced in 46 states.
24 voting restrictions have passed in 17 states since 2011. This fall, new laws could affect more than 5 million voters in states representing 179 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.
In the past two years, 5 battleground states (Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) have tightened their voting laws.
As of April, 74 restrictive voting laws were on the table in 24 states.
Since 2011, 34 states have introduced laws requiring voters to show photo ID, and 9 states have passed photo ID laws, affecting 3.8 million voters.
2.2 million registered voters did not vote in 2008 because they didn’t have proper ID.
*Does not include laws awaiting DOJ clearance, blocked by courts, or not in effect until after 2012. Source: National Conference of State Legislatures
Last year, 12 states introduced laws requiring birth certificates or other proof of citizenship to vote; 3 passed.
Only 48 percent of women have a birth certificate with their current legal name on it.
Texas’ new ID law permits voters to use concealed-handgun licenses as proof of identity, but not state university IDs.
80 percent of the 75 million eligible voters who did not take part in the 2008 election were not registered to vote.
Florida state Sen. Mike Bennett, a supporter of the tougher voter registration law, said, “I don’t have a problem making it harder. I want people in Florida to want to vote as bad as that person in Africa who walks 200 miles across the desert. This should not be easy.”
4 million Americans who have completed prison sentences are ineligible to vote. 38 percent of disenfranchised voters are African American.
13 percent of African American men cannot vote due to criminal records, a rate 7 times the national average.
The United States and Belgium are the only democracies that disenfranchise citizens for lengthy or indefinite periods after completing prison sentences.
To regain their voting rights, released felons in Iowa must provide the address of the judge who convicted them and a credit report showing they have paid off their court costs. “They make the process just about impossible,” said a 40-year old ex-con who’d stolen a soda machine as a teen.
- Charts: UFO Sightings Are More Common Than Voter Fraud
- What Happens When Digital Voting Machines Fail?
- Why a National ID Card Is the Quickest Way To Put the Voter Fraud Wars Behind Us
- The Dog That Voted
- The GOP’s War on Voting Comes to Washington
- Rick Scott Concerned About Non-Citizens, Citizens Voting
While defending its precedent-setting photo ID law before the Supreme Court, Indiana was unable to cite a single instance of voter impersonation in its entire history.
A 2005 report by the American Center for Voting Rights claimed there were more than 100 cases of voter fraud involving 300,000 votes in 2004. A review of the charges turned up only 185 votes that were even potentially fraudulent.
In support of a voter ID law, Kansas Secretary of State (and the legal brains behind a slew of anti-immigration laws) Kris Kobach cited 221 incidents of voter fraud in the state between 1997 and 2010. Yet those cases produced just 7 convictions—none related to impersonating other voters.
Last December, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus declared that Wisconsin is “absolutely riddled with voter fraud.” In fact, the state’s voter fraud rate in 2004 was 0.0002 percent—just 7 votes.
In 2008, John McCain said fraudulent registrations collected by ACORN were “one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.” The Congressional Research Service found no proof that anyone improperly registered by ACORN tried to vote.
- Voting while ineligible: 18
- Voting multiple times: 5
- Registration fraud: 3
Between 2000 and 2010, there were:
649 million votes cast in general elections
47,000 UFO sightings
441 Americans killed by lightning
13 credible cases of in-person voter fraud
Special hat tip to craigconnects.org
- A 2005 report by the American Center for Voting Rights…: The Myth of Voter Fraud by Lorraine C. Minnite
- 13 credible cases…: Justin Levitt, Loyola Law School
Hamed Aleaziz is a former Mother Jones editorial fellow.