The Battle for Ballot Integrity in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is, for the moment, ground zero in the battle over voter fraud. In March, Pennsylvania’s legislature enacted a law that requires identification for voting. The ACLU has sued to enjoin enforcement of the law; a trial on its lawsuit began today and is expected to last for around a week. This illustrates how low the ACLU has fallen. Voting illegally–that’s a “civil right!” But how about not having your vote canceled by the ballot of an illegal voter? Is that a civil right? Naahh.

At the same time, Eric Holder has announced that the Department of Justice is investigating the state of Pennsylvania to determine whether the law might violate the Voting Rights Act. In the Wall Street Journal, Collin Levy explains why Holder’s Pennsylvania investigation is unique:

While challenges to states’ Voter ID law have been making similar headlines in Florida and Texas, this is the first time the Justice Department may challenge a voter ID law in a state not required by the 1965 Voting Rights Acts to get federal preclearance for changes to its voting laws. Under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department can look into allegations of voter disenfranchisement, but if it wants to follow through in Pennsylvania, it will have to take the state to court for enforcement.

As always, the Democrats are furiously demagoguing the issue. This morning, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent out an email titled “BREAKING: Department of Justice Investigating Pennsylvania’s Voter Suppression Tactics.

The idea that a photo ID requirement constitutes a “voter suppression tactic” is ridiculous. I have to show an ID to buy beer at a liquor store. Is that a “beer suppression tactic?” Is it a “travel suppression tactic” when I have to produce identification to board an airplane? I am required to show ID to shoot a firearm at our local range; is that an insidious form of gun control? Should Eric Holder be investigating to see whether the Second Amendment is violated by such requirements?

The email says:

Pennsylvania’s new “voter I.D.” law could literally decide the fate of President Obama’s re-election.

It’s not the first time that Republicans have tried to suppress the vote — but in an election this close, it could be the tipping point that delivers the Presidency to Mitt Romney.

Help us reach 100,000 strong in support of the Department of Justice’s investigation of Pennsylvania voter suppression — Add your name >>

John — Republicans’ attempt to disenfranchise voters is just a shameless attempt to steal this election.

The Democrats have always been over the top, but this is simply insane. In the Democrats’ lexicon, making sure that only qualified voters cast ballots constitutes stealing elections. Whereas supplying the winning margin through illegal votes is democracy in action.

Even the Pennsylvania Republicans’ Majority Leader, Mike Turzai, boasted, “Voter ID…is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.” We all remember what happened in Florida in 2000. We can’t let Republicans get away with disenfranchising nearly 1-in-10 voters in a critical swing state like Pennsylvania in 2012.

One in ten legal voters don’t have identification? And won’t bother to get it for free–as the Pennsylvania law provides–in order to vote? Where does that statistic come from? The email concludes with this postscript:

P.S. Do you have a Republican friend that claims these onerous voter I.D. laws are necessary to prevent voter fraud? Tell them the state of Pennsylvania just admitted in a court filing that they have no evidence of in-person voter fraud, then help us fight back.

I haven’t read the State’s court filing, but I’m pretty sure the State didn’t “admit they have no evidence of in-person voter fraud.” No doubt the State is aware of this case, to name just one. And there are people who find suspicious those 100%-plus turnouts in Philadelphia. Also, of course, let’s not forget ACORN:

These days, liberals pretend they never even heard of ACORN, but the scads of phony voters that ACORN left behind undoubtedly helped motivate the photo ID push in Pennsylvania and other states.

Criminal charges involving false voter registrations, it has been reported, were filed in at least two Pennsylvania counties, and in Allegheny County, six ACORN figures were convicted. Other reports said election officials found thousands of phony voter registrations in Philadelphia alone.

News stories said ACORN arranged 149,000 voter registrations in Pennsylvania, virtually all of them Democrats, with the main focus on urban blacks and Latinos.

In every state, the Democrats tell us there is no such thing as voter fraud. Yet as far we can tell, dead people can vote in New Hampshire, anyone who calls himself “Eric Holder” can vote in the District of Columbia, and here in Minnesota, you can register and vote as “Tim Tebow” and no one will be the wiser. It requires a considerable amount of chutzpah–a quality not lacking in Democrats–to refuse to enforce the voting laws, and then argue that there must not be any violations, since so few people get caught.

So what, exactly, does the Pennsylvania law that the Democrats denounce as “voter suppression” actually do? This is a fair summary:

The law requires voters to produce a Pennsylvania driver’s license or another government-issued photo ID, such as a U.S. passport, military ID, or county/municipal employee ID when voting. If a prospective voter does not have a valid ID, the law requires the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to provide one at no cost.

In other words, the law asks voters to do no more than is required to board an airplane, use a credit card, or open a Netflix account.

Even if a voter shows up at the polling station without a valid ID, the law still protects their right to vote by allowing the individual without identification to cast a “provisional” ballot that will be counted if the identity of the voter can be indisputably ascertained within six business days of the election.

The law contains still more provisions to ensure that every legitimate voter can cast a ballot. For example, liberals always say that ID laws discriminate against the elderly, especially those in nursing homes and so on who no longer drive and may not have driver’s licenses. The Pennsylvania law, in addition to providing a free photo ID for anyone who wants one regardless of age, says that identification can be issued by “[a] Pennsylvania care facility.” And that is on top of the protections offered by the federal Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped law.

The Pennsylvania legislature seems to have thought of everything. Do you have a religious objection to being photographed? No problem. The law says:

The words “proof of identification” shall mean:

(1)  In the case of an elector who has a religious objection to being photographed, a valid-without-photo driver’s license or a valid-without-photo identification card issued by the Department of Transportation.

It is hard to imagine how Pennsylvania could have gone farther to assure that every legitimate voter can, with no difficulty, vote. Not to mention the fact that if 10% of adult Pennsylvanians don’t have photo IDs, and therefore can’t buy alcoholic beverages, fly on airplanes, cash a check, purchase a firearm, or otherwise participate in modern life–an absurd claim–the law will allow them, finally, to emerge from the shadows. If the Democrats were not engaging in contemptible demagoguery and actually cared about the constituencies they claim to represent, they would hail such legislation as a giant step forward.

Here in Minnesota, we too are fighting the battle over ballot integrity. For years, a large majority of Minnesotans have favored a photo ID requirement. As you probably know, we have had at least one major election–Al Franken’s “victory” over Norm Coleman--that almost certainly was swung by illegal votes (not in the recount phase, but on Election Day). Our legislature passed a photo ID bill, but our Democratic Governor, flouting the will of a clear majority of citizens, vetoed it. So now the measure will be on the ballot in November as a constitutional amendment. Our Democratic Secretary of State re-named the proposed amendment to make it less appealing to voters; thus does the establishment pull out any stops necessary to preserve the option of voter fraud.

The organization that has done the most to uphold ballot integrity in Minnesota is Protect My Vote, a project of Minnesota Majority. Please do check out Protect My Vote’s excellent web site, and if you have a few dollars to spare, go here to support their efforts. And, wherever you live, do what you can to support candidates who will protect one of our most precious civil rights, the integrity of the ballot.

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