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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"The Problem" Addressed By Voter ID Laws Is That Republicans Can't Win Elections Without Cheating

The Justice Department is investigating Pennsylvania’s voter ID law at the federal level, meanwhile a state trial begins today, with the ACLU and a coalition of other civil rights groups challenging the constitutionality of the voter ID law.

The state has already provided a stipulation agreement admitting 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.” Further, the agreement states that Pennsylvania has no plans to “offer any evidence in this action that in-person voter fraud has in fact occurred in Pennsylvania and elsewhere” or even to argue “that in person voter fraud is likely to occur in November 2012 in the absence of the Photo ID law.”

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, "More than 758,000 registered voters in Pennsylvania do not have photo identification cards from the state Transportation Department, putting their voting rights at risk in the November election, according to data released Tuesday by state election officials… representing 9.2 percent of the state's 8.2 million voters."

Just to summarize, that means that Pennsylvania Republicans are proposing "voter ID fraud legislation" which addresses no actually existing fraud and which even those who passed the legislation admit solves no real problem but which will result in the potential disenfranchisement of well over half a million of their own citizens, which in a democracy would be widely regarded, naturally enough, as the creation of a glaring problem.

Of course, one key Pennsylvania Republican, House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny), already proudly declared in public that “We are focused on making sure that we meet our obligations that we’ve talked about for years… 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,” drawing thunderous applause from his GOP audience. In so saying, Republicans revealed what everybody already knows, that the real "problem" with elections in their state is that Romney and other Republicans won't win unless they cheat.

As of this writing, the latest Public Policy Polling has Obama ahead of Romney in Pennsylvania by six points, 49-43, but it is unclear how many of those citizens expressing their preference for the President would discover to their astonishment that they have been freshly disenfranchised by Republican dirty tricks.

The only argument that the Pennsylvania Republicans are making to justify their Voter ID law has the slightest whiff of legitimacy as far as I can tell, is their insistence that it was introduced to strengthen confidence in the integrity of the vote. Needless to say, true though that may be, as it far as that goes, a more direct way to achieve this result would be for Republicans simply to stop lying so relentlessly about voter fraud problems that don't exist, which is the only reason anybody's confidence in the integrity of the vote was ever undermined in the first place.

The State's case is so weak I actually expect it to fail on the merits. But when it comes to crazytown Republicans who can ever know what might happen?

1 comment:

Barkeron said...

I guess after the 2000 fraud they figured any further outright criminal tactics would be spotted too easily, so they switched to regulatory capture, huh?