So enthralled is the Republican Party with their efforts to suppress voter turn out and discriminate against groups of American citizens that they have included that endeavor in their new RNC platform. Also this week A United States District Court blocked the Texas Voter ID Law and The Texas Attorney General has promised to appeal that decision to the United States Supreme Court. A similar case involving South Carolina’s Voter ID Law is presently being argued before the same District Court that struck down the Texas Statute.
In Pennsylvania a State Court upheld Pennsylvania’s new Voter ID law and that case has been appealed to the State Supreme Court which presently is evenly split with 2 Democrats and 2 Republican Justices. There was a fifth Justice, Republican Joan Orie Melvin, who has been removed from the bench because she is facing felony charges in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. The court has promised an expedited decision on Voter ID and we expect to have that determination by the middle of August. In order to overturn the lower court’s decision three Justices are required to disagree with the lower court.
Both my wife and I are active in the Democratic Party. I am a humble committeeman and Georgiann holds the lofty positions of Chair for the Democratic Party of Butler County and Member of the State of Pennsylvania Democratic Committee. On our dining room table is a list of 2,088 names of registered Democrats in Butler County who may have trouble voting because of the new law. We and a group of volunteers have begun the task of contacting each person and we will assist each voter in correcting whatever detail seems to be lacking so that they are able to exercise this basic right.
Pennsylvania’s Department of State has issued these sobering projections 9% of Pennsylvania’s registered voters may not have a Department of Transportation Photo Id and therefore may not be eligible to vote. Statewide that is 758,000 people. In the recent case that upheld the law neither the State not the Republican Party was able to offer one example of in person voter fraud. This law is a ruse they are not correcting a problem they are creating a problem and the problem that they are creating will come at an out of pocket expense of $11,000,000.
I became aware this week of polls that show that over 60% are in favor of these new laws. I admit that on the surface they seem to be reasonable; what’s so hard about producing a Photo ID to vote?
In the law there are several paragraphs defining which Photo ID’s are acceptable. If an individual has none of these they must: (The following has been extracted from Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation Website.)
To obtain a Pennsylvania Photo Identification card, an individual needs to visit a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Driver License Center with a completed Application for an Initial Photo Identification Card; form DL-54A, and the following:
Social Security Card
One of the following:
Certificate of U.S. Citizenship
Certificate of Naturalization
Valid U.S. Passport
Birth Certificate with a raised seal
Two proofs of **residency such as lease agreements, current utility bills, mortgage documents, W-2 form, tax records”
We are finding that people do not always have a birth certificate readily available; do you? If this process still seems benign to you, please note that these are people who do not have driver’s licenses and there are very few Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Driver License Centers. Butler County has only one and it will process Voter ID’s on Monday, Wednesday and Friday only. In Butler County 2,088 Democrats will be required to obtain that list of documents and be driven to the one destination where they will be funneled through a new procedure for which no training has been provided. This whole legislative process is a lie and it is nonsensical.
If people knew how convoluted this process is those poll numbers supporting this legislation would be substantially altered. When the Republicans come to your state with fictitious accusations of voter fraud and the need for new Voter ID legislation please just tell them, no.
My name is on that list on our kitchen table, I do not think that I have missed an Election Day for over 40 years and I have lived at my present address for 25 years. Many people in Pennsylvania will turn out to vote as would be their normal behavior and find that they must cast a provisional ballot or be turned away.