Et Tu Pennslyvania?

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence Rafferty (rafflaw)- Guest Blogger

I guess I should not be surprised when I read of certain states trying to “cleanse” the voting rolls under the guise of voter fraud.  However, I was saddened to read that the State of Pennsylvania was joining the growing list of so-called Red and some not so Red states that are taking steps to disenfranchise voters prior to the November National elections.  The State of Pennsylvania is poised to possibly disenfranchise almost 10 percent of its voting population.  “Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law, which will take effect for the first time this November, may prevent 758,939 otherwise eligible voters, who do not currently have an acceptable ID, from voting.” Think Progress

Most of the states who are embarking on these attempts to reduce the number of legal citizens able to vote in the elections seem to come from the states that claim that they are merely taking steps to stop voter fraud.  Florida has been in the news lately with Gov. Scott’s attempts to purge the voting rolls and I recently wrote about an attempt in Georgia to prevent absentee ballots from being sent and received in time for them to be counted in the November elections.  These absentee ballots would have an especially dramatic impact on deployed military members right to have their votes counted.  Now, Pennsylvania has joined the fray and is attempting to protect the citizens of Pennsylvania from the almost invisible crime wave known as voter fraud!

Just what kind of photo identification is required to be able to vote in Pennsylvania?  “The new law requires all voters to show photo ID such as a driver’s license or nondriver PennDOT photo ID, U.S. passport, student identification card with expiration date, current military identification, or ID card issued to government employees.”  The Morning Call  This kind of requirement sounds reasonable on its face, but when you look deeper it is arguable that this requirement is intended to prevent likely Democratic demographics from voting.  “Philadelphia’s top election official, City Commission Chair Stephanie Singer, told the newspaper that the figures reinforced her view that the law was intended to decrease voter turnout in the predominantly Democratic city. She said Philadelphia “is hit much harder by this than any of the other counties.” The Morning Call

The leader in the Pennsylvania House recently confirmed that the Voter ID law will allow Gov. Romney to win Pennsylvania in November. “House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) suggested that the House’s end game in passing the Voter ID law was to benefit the GOP politically.  “We are focused on making sure that we meet our obligations that we’ve talked about for years,” said Turzai in a speech to committee members Saturday. He mentioned the law among a laundry list of accomplishments made by the GOP-run legislature.  “Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it’s done. First pro-life legislation – abortion facility regulations – in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”  Politics PA

If I understand Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Turzai correctly, the only voters who are voting illegally in Pennsylvania are voters likely to vote for President Obama.  Am I missing something or did Turzai just admit that the Pennsylvania Voter ID law is a political gimmick designed to prevent likely Democratic voters from being able to vote.  Indeed, similar voting restrictions in Wisconsin were recently struck by a judge who claimed that their Voter ID laws violated the State Constitution.

“According to Wisconsin Judge David Flanagan, they violate the Wisconsin Constitution too. In an order issued yesterday, Flanagan temporarily suspended his state’s voter ID law and strongly hinted that he will eventually strike the law down permanently.  As Flanagan’s opinion explains, the Wisconsin Constitution provides particularly strong protections for the right to vote — “[e]very United States citizen age 18 or older who is a resident of an election district in this state is a qualified elector of that district,” regardless of whether or not they have an ID. Moreover, the state supreme court has interpreted this constitutional provision very robustly. “Voting is a constitutional right,” according to the Wisconsin supremes, “any statute that denies a qualified elector the right to vote is unconstitutional and void.”  Think Progress

Are these state laws that are being passed to curb so-called voter fraud just an excuse to prevent legal voters from exercising their right to vote?  If voter fraud is a real problem, where are the statistics and evidence to prove it?  In Ohio, a study found that the instances of voter fraud was infinitesimal.  “Despite his belief, representatives from the Board of Elections, the League of Women Voters, and the former Secretary of State office “have never even heard of one” instance of voter impersonation in Ohio. As the Brennan Center for Justice notes, a statewide survey found four instances of ineligible persons voting or attempting to vote in 2002 and 2004 out of 9,078,728 votes case — “a rate of 0.00004%.”  Think Progress

At least 22 states have taken steps to restrict the right to vote and the Justice Department is becoming engaged in the “discussion”, but will it be too little too late for the millions nationwide who may lose their right to vote?   Would the Voting Rights Act survive the Roberts Court if any of the challenges to these Voter ID laws make it to the Supreme Court? Is there a voter fraud problem in this country?  Are people confusing the term vote fraud with voter fraud?

To me, the right to vote is an integral part of my right of free speech because it is the time when my government has to listen to what I say!  What do you think?

Additional references:  Think Progress; The Brennan Center; ACLU

132 thoughts on “Et Tu Pennslyvania?”

  1. Dilbertnomore,
    You are talking about registration fraud, not voter fraud. Most, if not all of the fraudulent or questionable registration cards are caught before the person is ever placed on the voter rolls. Also, it is a crime to try and register someone if you knowingly know the registration is fraudulent. ACORN workers regularly pointed out the illegal forms to the vote registration clerks. They were required by law to turn all voter registration applications in, but painstakingly pointed out the wrong cards.
    No one has shown me yet how the ratio of 4:9,000,000 vote fraud can justify tossing a half million voters off the rolls and make them re-register–if they can manage it. Many of those are elderly, minorities, and handicapped. The one thing most of them have in common is they are Democrats. Karl Rove and his enablers cannot have that, now can they?

  2. I wonder, seriously, if the operator of Motor “jack the thread” Mouth did not push the “change the thread” button. I mean, when you did not bite the Obama diversion, the op pushed the abandon button

    ALEC and co. bought a non-classified version of “game the blogs” program from the DOD’s contractor.

    The real work is developing the software ie scripts.

    Picking out key words to scan for in the replies to make appropriate answers to in order to simulate a human correspondent.

    Now that we have touch screens so what do we call what replaced buttons?

  3. Most interesting to observe one side argue that tiny slices of eligible voters might be denied their francise because they are so old or infirm or melanin infused or young or whatever that they can’t get to the ID issuing location (but, presumably can get to the polls or the place appointed to apply for an absentee ballot or early voting) and so requiring proper ID to vote is bad, perhaps even racist. These tirades are scoffed at by their detractors as fringe cases for which a work-around likely can be found to accommodate legitimate voters.
    The other side argues voter fraud citing a small but highly verifiable number of instances of such, even to the point a DC poll worker was willing to give a ballot in the name of Attorney General Eric Holder to a person who most clearly was not him justifies requiring those who wish to exercise their franchise present proof of their identity. The detractors reject this as pure nonsense as the numbers (no matter how many examples are provided or the extreme grossness of them) don’t justify the risk even one eligible voter may be unable to thread the maze of bureaucratic red tape attendant to the task.

    I have a simple test. Access to the voting booth should demand the same scrutiny as accessing a major federal building in DC. And since the number of access violations for DC federal buildings is far less than 1% of all entries and since access is so important for a properly represented citizenry, all security concerns must be discounted as fringe and irrelevant.

    And yet, still, accessing a major DC federal building, a simple, basic, sometimes important, sanctioned by our Constitution (petition and redress) voluntary action, always requires a picture ID (unless you are government elite personage). Plus, occasionally a more intensive screening (perhaps involving turning your head and coughing?) is provided as an unwelcome bonus.

    So proper ID for voting it is.

    Unless you aren’t particularly into objectivity. But that would make it just so, so political. How unseemly.

  4. MJM, you were the one coming in her with all those fantastic claims of voter fraud. The Obama claims you make are an attempt to deflect the discussion. One thing at a time. Stay on topic, and the topic is voter fraud. Where is it? I want to see me some voter fraud. As that one study showed there were about four (4) cases of identified illegal votes out of several million cast. You can count that many cases on the fingers of one hand and have change left over. Where is there enough fraudulent voting to justify throwing a half million voters off the rolls?

  5. Michael, the topic under discussion is the oppression of eligible voters. Bringing in the “birther” issue is a diversion.

  6. Otteray Scribe,

    If it was a snart, the reference to commenters who add nothing, it was a pertinent one. I do consider that factor before commenting—-not all the time tho’.

    But I hear a few “pings” in reply directly or indirectly in viewpoints I bring being expanded by others. Encouraging.

    But thanks for the reminder. We all have a bit too much hubris at times.

  7. I’ll continue showing obvious things.

    Who but your brother-in-law is an idiot. Quite apparent due to his nearness. Job, boss, local agency head, school board, Mayor, local judge? Quite apparent as to dumbness, power, venality, etc.

    As it rises to cover larger areas and numbers the apparentness diminishes, all becomes less understandable for several reasons, and the complexity of control…open or hidden…takes it out of sight and understanding of us. Only the bought specialists can, to a degree only, even them.

    Now even judging a wife to be is a difficult task.
    An employee, even more so, in spite of references.

    But the only reasonable way to build a more honest system is to begin from the bottom. And that assumes that honest men at the bottom, once picked and proven, will want to see honest men at the next layer upwards. And perhaps their and our efforts will succeed.

    What’s to worry? In NC Wake County the school board election showed in terms of newspaper comments the general public did not want their children to go the schools mixed through bussing.
    So what do we do when the majority wants what we regard as bad outcomees. What we did in ’54 and since has not YET cured 200 years of prejudice.

    A trite 6th graders idealistic solution? Any others offered?

  8. Id707,
    At the bottom of the diary, you will see an icon for expanding comments. That will open up the comment thread. Some of the commenters add to the discussion, although as in any discussion, some are just “there” without adding anything of substance.

  9. Otteray,

    Thanks for Kos article by Shannika. Still wading through it. The comments which you found valuable, were to that article? Her record page at Kos seems to be heavyweight, but am no expierience judge.

    The story matches my prejudices at any rate.

  10. The proof is in the pudding. Michael’s is hot air.
    It is necessary with a thread based word cap to shut these motor mouths up?

  11. Michael, you are defending the indefensible. Give it up. You are wasting your time and our time.

  12. MJM sez: “Many, if not most instances of voter fraud are well organized, targeted and difficult to prove. So that’s no reason to stop trying to improve the process.”


    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Ipse dixit does not work very well around here. I am from Missouri….show me.

    1. Did you say show me the proof? Why don’t you show me the proof that Barack Obama is eligible to hold the office of president? As you know, there’s a huge amount of conclusive evidence in the public domain and much more on the way. Show me what you got !!

      1. MJM,

        Please show us proof of when you stopped beating your domestic partner, many sources have proclaimed this about you. I could of course find out by using Google to check your history, but why should I bother since I’ve got many sources?

  13. Thank god I was sleeping instead. What a waste of time.

    ONE: You are all victims of federalism: The duty to be subject to different procedures, rules etc to achiieve the same goal; I AM ME PROOF…..whether it be voting, banking, paying in a store, getting medical help, dealing with the government, etc.

    And since you have no say, either individually nor jointly, in each arrangement, then you are subjects of tyranny.
    In the land of the free, etc.

    SOLUTION: You are registerd at birth with a uniques number composed of YYYY-MM-DD-SSSS. Where SSSS if your ordinal number. Simple. It follows you through life, it is the access number to all systems containing YOU: insurance, medical, whatever someone decides they need to identify you in their

    Every system, BTW, that stores you and others, has to be approved by a state agency to assure it’s use, purpose, safety routines, integrity, right to removal by you, etc. is guaranteed. Even governmental agency system must be checked and approved, and often meet forced changes to our benefit. Thus we feel secure that most data systems can be trusted. Not the bank or insurance company using the system, but the system as such. You may at any time request a printout of your file contents.
    And since it is sent to your registere domiciles post address, nobody else can order your file contents and have them delivered to their address.

    Access to a photo ID is mostly done by driver’s license, through the tax office, open ordinary office hours in every city, or a bank ID. Type student ID valldity is unknown by me.

    Naturally, deceased reported by doctor registrations, removes the deceased from the voting system, permanently.

    You register a domicile address, be it buddy, wife, own or parents or temp of any kind. You get your post there, your post packages at the nearest large grocery store open until 10 PM, you get your bills there, etc.

    Life is orderly, convenient, simple, and uniform.
    I called it the vanilla way. If you prefer another way, then vote for chocolate. That is possible too here in Sweden.

    What other problems have we discussed?

    Now untouched is the voter caging issue, the vote fraud inherent or possible in the various voting systems, the vote fraud/caging in the various voter checks done in the various state systems.

    Oh,yes, the elderly, by virtue of the ID-number which follows them to their demise and even after, they are always registered, with or without photo ID. So they vote in their care center. See, even that is easy.

    Hope some read this. Risk of later cross-posting.

    FEDERALISH WAS SOLD AS A GUARANTEE THAT BIG GOVENNMENT WOULD NOT CONTROL YOU. Now you’ve got 50 small governments controlling you, and a new system to learn, adapt to, laws to learn, etc. whenever you move to a new state. Fun, ultimate fun.

    But that is another thread.

    1. “FEDERALISH WAS SOLD AS A GUARANTEE THAT BIG GOVENNMENT WOULD NOT CONTROL YOU. Now you’ve got 50 small governments controlling you, and a new system to learn, adapt to, laws to learn, etc. whenever you move to a new state.”


      You are right and get to the heart of the issue. One of the initial flaws of the Constitution, which was unfortunately unavoidable at the time, was the concept of providing a framework where each of the constituent States could go their own way. The premise was that this would ensure more freedom, yet the reality is that while all levels of government have become corrupted, it is far easier to corrupt on a State and local level.

  14. bigfatmike,
    that is not my quote that you attributed to me. I mentioned an ohio study in 2004 and 2008 with only 4 instances of voter fraud out of 9 million votes cast. Where did you get the quote? Someone else? If you are going to quote me, please be accurate.
    Besides, It is suprising that you need more data besides 4 instances in two election cycles out of 9 million votes cast??? What do you need 100 million votes cast?

    1. @rafflaw

      Sorry my response was sloppy and seemed to attribute the quote to you when it actually came from ‘A Joint Report on Election Reform Activities in Ohio’ 2005 issued by COHHIO and League of women Voters of Ohio.

      I thought it was interesting that they included both voter fraud and registration fraud. Many speak confidently of voter fraud when the question includes registration fraud which is different.

      In any case, as you point out, they only found 4 cases out of 9 million.You ask if I need 100 million? No I find a sample of 9 million pretty convincing.

      BTW the quote has a problem ‘over million votes were cast’ should be
      ‘over 8 million votes were cast’.

      Thanks again for the reference.

  15. raff, didn’t you get Grover’s directive? It is just fine if we disenfranchise a half million or so voters if we can keep four or five illegal votes from being cast.

    Oh! The horror!

    1. Ya know, they said that if making every driver in American wear a seatbelt would save even one life, the law will have been worth it. Go figure !!!!

  16. Bigfatmike,
    I quoted an Ohio league of women voters study from 2004 and 2008 and they found 4 cases of voter fraud out of over 9 Million votes cast.

    1. @ rafflaw “Much of the overheated media and political publicity about “voter fraud” actually pertains to registration fraud. Yet no cases of either registration or voting fraud have been brought to the Ohio Court of Appeals since 2000 even though over million votes were cast in the General Elections of 2000 and 2002”

      Thanks for the reference. Until someone provides more data, it seems to me that the only reasonable conclusion is if there are large numbers of individuals committing voter or registration fraud, they must be so smart we cant catch them. Maybe they are working with UFO’s.


      1. Many, if not most instances of voter fraud are well organized, targeted and difficult to prove. So that’s no reason to stop trying to improve the process.

    2. If the League Of Women’s Voter study is accurate, then perhaps Ohio should serve as a model for the rest of the country. I personally don’t know Ohio’s system but I do know they gave George W. Bush his second term and what a disgrace he turned out to be. Immagine that a former president and vice president are not able to travel to certain destinations outside of the U.S. for fear of being arrested for war crimes. A war criminal following a sexual predator – now that’s something we can all be proud of.

  17. MJM: ” Voting is one of the most important rights Americans have. It is most reasonable to require a positive I.D. in order to vote so that eligible voters are confident that their votes are not being diluted by ineligible voters”

    So then you are cool with the Federal government sending out a national ID system so everyone can vote, right? Or a state government? I get a voter ID card from the state, should I have to prove that they were correct in sending me this ID? Why not just show my voter ID card from the state that seems to prove I am elegible, along with my address and name on the voter rolls which they check off when I show up to vote. It makes no sense to make voting HARDER. It makes sense to make it easy for all Americans to exercise this right.

    bigfatmike: “When it comes to fair elections it makes no difference if eligible voters are suppressed or is ineligible individuals are allowed to vote. It seems to me that these two points compel reasonable individuals to consider if voter rolls are compromised”

    there is the reason why we should err on the side of voters. If you suppress the vote for nefarious purposes, the outcome is exactly the same as if you let ineligible people vote. The voter suppression ‘fix’ is creating even worse conditions.

    I would be really mad if my vote was thrown out without my knowledge and information of some remedy to fix that suppression.

    1. I have been saying all along that showing a positive ID in order to vote is fair and resonable and would improve the reliability of the outcome. Any number of ineligible voters casting a ballot is unacceptable. We are the United States and the individual states should set their own requirements.
      Maryland’s system is among the worst because the poll attendants are ordered not to look at a photo ID even if it is voluntarily offered to them.
      Unfortunately, some people may be inconvenienced in order to improve the reliability of the process.

    1. Voter fraud in any form and in any amount is unacceptable. As human beings, we strive for perfection knowing that we will never achieve it. We hope to eliminate voter fraud but know at best we can only reduce the incidence of it.

  18. We haz a troll spouting RW talking points. Anyone want to bet on whether it is somebody in the meatworld, or a bot? It is so perseverative that I am beginning to suspect a bot.

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