Pennsylvania: A Glimpse of Texas' Future if Voter ID Law is Implemented

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While Texas awaits a panel of judges' decision as to whether a voter I.D. requirement would disenfranchise minorities, Pennsylvania provides a peek into the issues that arise after such a law is put in place.

In the lawsuit filed against the Department of Justice by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the state argues that such a law would prevent voter fraud while the DOJ claims it would disproportionately prevent minorities from voting. After last week's back-and-forth testimony from both sides, the panel of three federal judges could take weeks or months to review the case, meaning it's a mystery as to whether the law, if permitted, could be applied in time for the November election.

Earlier this year, Pennsylvania passed a similar law requiring voters to prevent identification, and now the state is facing legal backlash and public relations snafus because of the decision.

Last month, a Pennsylvania Republican leader made a remark that momentarily cast doubt on the repeated assertion that the voter ID law is intended to preserve the integrity of elections by preventing fraud.

"Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done," he said, according to a report on PoliticsPA.com, as quoted in the New York Times. His spokesman did damage-control, telling the Times that his comment was meant to show that combating voter fraud was important to "level the playing field" in November.

Another recent Times article documents a few people who feel that the playing field for voters has been skewed against minorities, rather than leveled for candidates, and several are part of a lawsuit against the state to drive home their point.

Vivette Applewhite, a 93-year-old Obama supporter, had her purse snatched four years ago. The former hotel housekeeper never had a driver's license, and her social security card was stolen with the purse. Her name had changed several times as she was adopted and married twice, complicating the process of obtaining identification. Now, she may not be able to vote for the president in November's election.

Wilola Shinholster Lee, a 60-year-old born in Georgia, lost her birth certificate in a house fire. Georgia officials told her they too had lost records of her birth in a fire. Lee told the Times she came to Pennsylvania as a child with her grandmother, who is now 98, loves Obama and does not have a photo ID. Lee has a Social Security card and an employee ID from her employment with the Philadelphia Board of Education, but that's unlikely to be enough to vote in Pennsylvania in November.

The American Civil Liberities Union of Pennsylvania is spearheading the case against the new ID law, and will be putting Lee and others with similar stories on the stand at a trial that begins this month in Harrisburg.

Pennsylvania was able to implement the law without the federal approval required of Texas and other Southern states with a history of discriminatory voting practices under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

With that, we're left waiting for the courts' decision as to whether Texas will follow in Pennsylvania's footsteps or not. And it's safe to assume the debate will continue for months thereafter.

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47 comments
Jlander82
Jlander82

You have to have a gov't issued ID to do literally everything!  Tried operating a car or buying a beer without an ID?  Good luck.

 

So why is something where fraud can run so rampant (voting) somehow less important!? 

jared.heath
jared.heath

None of these voter id laws are ever going to hold up.

 

Its unconstitutional to forbid an eligible voter from voting.  

 

The incidental impact of a few illegal voters (which I've never been convinced is anywhere close to a significant number due to the difficulty of getting on the voting rolls to begin with) is nothing compared to ONE citizen forbade to vote.

 

The Reps need to get this through their head.  You can count on pretty much any court striking any of these laws down as soon as one incidence happens.

 

If you want to stop (the almost non-existent) voter fraud, you need voter IDs that are issued to everyone.

pak152
pak152

for those who point to the 2000 Florida ballot fiasco. should also take a look at what took place with the election of Al Franken

"The vote pickup has occurred through two actions by the board — divining voter intent and determining what votes should be counted. While decisions to include missing or overlooked ballots have gotten the most attention, the process of determining intent has also been important in determining the outcome here. Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,470892,00.html#ixzz21Uixh9WF

 

"The Democrats' best shot of winning a 59th seat in the U.S. Senate may depend on Minnesota ballots that don't seem to have been cast for either major party's candidate.

Most of these 35,000 ballots were probably cast by voters who abstained because they didn't like either comedian Al Franken, a Democrat, or incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, political experts said. But vote-counting machines also may not have read valid markings on a few of the 2.9 million ballots cast on Election Day. Where that is the case, some political experts said, the hand recount now under way is likely to favor Mr. Franken."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122766278026358823.html

pak152
pak152

"Analogies between voter ID laws and Jim Crow poll taxes are absurd. That pockets of citizens lack ID is a compelling argument for active voter registration drives, not damning attempts to curb fraud. Ensuring the integrity of our electoral process ought not to be a partisan issue."

http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2012/0723/Voter-ID-laws-are-inherently-reasonable-not-racist-or-Republican

 

and then there is this story from Virginia. Voter fraud begins with fraudulent voter registration

"

Voter-registration forms being mailed to Virginia residents are addressed to dead relatives, children, family members in other states, non-U.S. citizens, people with similar names, existing registered voters and residents' cats and dogs.

The errant forms are among tens of thousands being distributed in Virginia by a national voter-registration group that pre-populates the documents with key information, including names and addresses of prospective voters."

http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/news/2012/jul/22/tdmain01-pets-deceased-receive-forms-to-vote-in-va-ar-2074543/

roo_ster
roo_ster

"Another recent Times article documents a few people who feel that the playing field for voters has been skewed against minorities, rather than leveled for candidates, and several are part of a lawsuit against the state to drive home their point."

 

Are you trying to say minorities are not bright enough to obtain ID?  Because that would be racist.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

that tool Rubio said on Diane Rehm that if one improper vote is cast, it's a travesty.   Isn't it just as egregious is one legit voter is denied?  He didn't see it that way, and lazy Diane failed to turn his argument around on him.   The debate and discussion goes on, and we are all dumber for it.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Republifilth won the 2000 election with voter suppression tactics and now they're trying the same shit again.

MisterKnowItAll
MisterKnowItAll

An important tidbit on the Pennsylvania issue:

 

"The new voter photo identification cards are scheduled to be available at PennDOT’s Driver’s License Centers beginning the last week of August. The identification cards can be issued to registered voters who may not have all of the documents necessary to obtain a non-driver’s license photo ID from PennDOT, primarily a birth certificate. The IDs, which are free, will be issued to voters for a 10-year period and can only be used for voting purposes. For Pennsylvania-born voters, PennDOT will still use the process of confirming birth records electronically with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to issue non-driver’s license photo IDs for voting."

 

http://gantdaily.com/2012/07/23/secretary-of-commonwealth-announces-new-voter-id-card/

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Why do I have to show up to vote?

drtz
drtz

If this would make people have to pay money to the state for the right to vote, then it's a poll tax, plain and simple.

1morereason2carry
1morereason2carry

 @roo_ster That is the entire basis for this case. Liberals = paternalist racists who think anyone who isn't a white male is incapable of doing anything for themselves.

BurmaJones
BurmaJones

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz You do realize that the character of Myrna Minkoff was supposed to be a satire of libtards like you, right?

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Gore lawyers launched an orchestrated statewide effort to disqualify thousands of military absentee ballots in Florida. The military ballots went to Bush overwhelmingly.  It is the democratic machine that is again disenfranchising legal balloting.  I see dead people.   

icowrich
icowrich

 @MisterKnowItAll The cost of the ID isn't the issue.  In order to get that I.D., you need that birth certificate.  Not only is it not free, you have to send payment advance, and then wait 10 days for it to be mailed.  Even then, many people never get the certificate, and must pay again.  If the birth certificate necessary for an I.D. is hard to get and not free, then it is a poll tax.  They should have the capacity to print up that certificate at all the same places where an I.D. is issued.  There also need to not be long lines where both of things are issued.  The legal requirements are twofold and simple.  Voting must be

 

1) Free

2) Easy

 

The Pennsylvania law is not yet either of those.

TXnWA
TXnWA

 @holmantx An excellent question.  I moved to Washington state and all voting here is done by mail.  It's convenient, they have fraud prevention measures, and turnout measures in the high 80 percent.

TXnWA
TXnWA

 @drtz The way the politicians get around this is to make IDs to be used specifically for voting.  Those IDs are then free.  However, some states with these IDs (Wisconsin and Kansas come to mind) prohibit state employees from mentioning the free card, instead requiring that the person use specific words to obtain the card at no charge.

gangstead1
gangstead1

 @drtz For the senior citizens in this story it would cost them $6 for a ID card if they were in Texas.  For under 60 it is $16.  It meets your poll tax litmus test, but it's very nominal and having some form of ID is very useful in other aspects of your life.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @holmantx Actually, if the Gore side had their way, Bush would have won.  If Bush had his way, Gore would have won. 

icowrich
icowrich

 @holmantx  @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Actually, the rule that nearly disenfranchised the military ballots was authored by Katherine Harris.  It was authored to stop any ballot that didn't arrive by US mail, because they wanted to make it harder for voter registration drives to send in bundles of absentee ballots.  When Harris (a republican) realized that such bundling was also practiced by the military (who vote republican), she suddenly realized the error of her law.

MisterKnowItAll
MisterKnowItAll

 @icowrich to reiterate (emphasis in caps) my above posting:

 

The identification cards can be issued to registered voters who MAY NOT HAVE all of the documents necessary to obtain a non-driver’s license photo ID from PennDOT, primarily A BIRTH CERTIFICATE. The IDs, which ARE FREE, will be issued to voters for a 10-year period and can only be used for voting purposes.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @TXnWA why do we need fraud prevention measures?

Chiggers
Chiggers

 @TXnWA Overheard whisper at Kansas polling station: "The half-black raven flies at midnight."

 

"Excellent, good sir! Here's your voter ID!"

icowrich
icowrich

 @gangstead1 If we're going to do voter ID, then we may as well do it right.  Why not make it free, available in every library and grocery store, and include motor/voter capacity, so that everyone is automatically registered to vote?

Goober
Goober

 @icowrich where does it say you need to present four documents to get a voter ID in Pennsylvania? All I see is that birth records can be confirmed electronically.

G_David
G_David

 @icowrich Give it up icowrich, it's like debating a bunch of fence posts.

icowrich
icowrich

 @cehmann1  @MisterKnowItAll Yes, I know, but it is the document that is most comprehensive.  The other documents have to be piled up on one another (you must present four of them), and not everyone has many of those.  To make sure that everybody can get the documents necessary, providing free and quickly issued birth certificates would ensure that the new law does not suppress any votes.

 

If states are going to do this, then they need to take every precaution to ensure full participation. 

icowrich
icowrich

 @MisterKnowItAll Yes, I saw that.  I'm just pointing out that the cost of a birth certificate is a disincentive for voting.

icowrich
icowrich

 @holmantx The postmark disqualification was very much in play, and used to disqualify 67 overseas ballots in Duval county and another 74 in Hillsborough county.  At the time, I was of the opinion that all those votes should have counted, as well as the military votes...regardless of the consequences.  I voted Libertarian that year, anyway, so my candidate wasn't going to win, in any case.  I was not a fan of the adversarial vote counting system that was employed.  I'd rather have teams go in there and try as hard as possible to make every ballot count (and prove fraud where applicable).  As it applies to *this* issue, I also want every eligible vote counted, which is why I'd like to see IDs be very easy to obtain, if they are going to be required.  As an aside: I remember when it was Democrats that wanted every American to have an ID and it was the Republicans who fought bitterly against it, warning that government shouldn't have the ability to track every citizen.  My, how times have changed.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 

When you steal from one author, its plagiarism; if you steal from many, its research. - Wilson Mizner

 

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @icowrich the postmark disqualification did not apply (see Fla law).  

 

The butterfly ballot was construcvted and written by the democrat party leadership in Palm Beach County.  

 

And the Chicago team (Daley) used the recounts to (hanging shad technique, pencil punch, etc.)) to disqualify ballots (overvote/undervotes.  A classic technique originated in Chicago. 

 

and your discourse defines you.

icowrich
icowrich

@holmantx

I'm not sure why you assume I would defend Gore or the Democrats.  They leveraged Harris' rule because they were willing to use the same dirty tactics that she used.  She wanted to throw out every ballot that came in a bundle (hence, no individual postmark), and Gore wanted to use her rule to do the same to bundled military votes.  A pox on both their houses.

 

As for the butterfly ballots, that's what got Bush elected.  That one I don't blame on republicans directly.  I'm convinced it was simple error and could just as easily have gone the other way.BTW, I'm a Republican.  Admittedly, one you'd probably classify as a RINO, since I'm not a Tea Party member.  I'm also okay with voter ID, so long as IDs are free and ubiquitously offered.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @icowrich  It was the Gore lawyers who constructed a 5 page memo (disenfranchisement) detailing technicalities  upon which military ballots could be challenged. It was Gore’s lawyers who even went so far as to falsely cite the law pertaining to postmarks. Many military ballots were disqualified under the claim “lack of postmark” when in fact these ballots were carried by military mail systems that do not use conventional postmarks. Instead of postmarks, several hundred military voters provided a dated signature as is permitted under the Florida Administrative Code, Section 1S 2.013 clause 7.  This section specifically mandates that absentee ballots that are "postmarked or signed and dated...shall be counted" if recieved within 10 days after the election.

 

Yet you assert Harris was the initial; and active disenfranchiser? Man-oh-man - Face it!  It is the Democrat Chicago-style votomatic punch card butterfly ballot tactics which give multi-level marketing a bad name who employ disenfranchisement on such a grand scale that even you can't blow sufficient smoke to hide it all.

icowrich
icowrich

 @holmantx Oh, yes.  It IS classic disenfranchisement (no obfuscation necessary).  They should have been counted. The reason they were nearly disenfranchised is because they were unexpectedly caught in a trap meant to stop other kinds of voters.  Harris reversed her position on the rule as soon as she found out that it was a net harm to republicans.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @icowrich You are obfuscating.  Should they have been counted or not?  If you are saying they should not have been counted because government did not postmark them, then refused to certify them, is that not classic disenfranchisement?

icowrich
icowrich

 @holmantx Exactly.  Yet, Kathyrn Harris had introduced a rule to disallow any ballot that did not have a postmark on it.  That, of course, automatically disallowed all military absentee ballots.  The votes were only reinstated after the practice had been publicized (also Harris realized that most of those votes were for Bush).  Had this not been discovered by the media (and others), the votes may never have been counted.  Strictly speaking, according to the law, they were not valid.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @icowrich Overseas military mail does not have a postmark.  It goes through military channels.

icowrich
icowrich

 @holmantx  @TXnWA You tell me.  In that famously contentious battle in Florida for the 2000 elections, the largest group of disputed ballots were military ballots which had arrived without the proper postmark.  Reference the Herron memo.

icowrich
icowrich

 @holmantx  @TXnWA You can assign your vote, it's called straight-ticketing or down-balloting.  Many people do it.  You can also follow a PAC provided voter guide, if you want, though most (if not all PACs) would want you do go straight ticket, anyway.  Agoraphobics may vote absentee, so far.  If we lost absentee voting, we'd lose a lot of the military vote, so I doubt anyone is really going after eliminating that.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @icowrich  @TXnWA does agoraphobia suppress turnout?  Isn't it a covered malady under ADA?  Why can't I just assign my vote to a PAC?

icowrich
icowrich

 @holmantx  @TXnWA We need those fraud prevention measures that do not suppress turnout.  The first only makes sense if you can ensure the latter. 

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