To the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Despite the lack of evidence of “voter fraud.” Despite the fact, that for years people have voted with other “acceptable forms of identification.” Despite the fact, that the stated objective of the “Voter ID Law,” passed by the PA legislature, is to insure a Romney victory in the Commonwealth, over President Obama, in the November election. Despite the fact, that older citizens, college students and minorities are disproportionately affected by this law. Despite all of these facts, Judge Robert Simpson of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has decided to uphold the PA Voter ID law.
This from CNN.com: “Judge Robert Simpson, with the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, on Wednesday issued an order expressing no constitutional reason to stop the law from taking effect, despite writing in his decision that he had “sympathy” for the witnesses.
‘At the end of the day, however, I do not have the luxury of deciding this issue based on my sympathy for the witnesses or my esteem for the counsel. Rather, I must analyze the law, and apply it to the evidence of facial unconstitutionality brought forth in the courtroom, tested by our adversarial system,’ Simpson wrote.” http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/15/pennsylvania-judge-upholds-voter-id-law/
Though the ACLU and others have vowed to continue this fight, next, to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and if necessary, beyond, the PA GOP has declared victory, and is sure that this legislation has given them a leg up, an advantage, in their efforts to retain control of the Commonwealth, and to defeat President Obama, in Pennsylvania, in November. But, their celebrations could be a bit premature.
Let’s look at a few other facts:
There are 8,478,509 registered voters in Pennsylvania:
• 4,311,203 registered Democratic voters
• 3,132,039 registered Republican voters
• 38,031 registered Libertarian voters
• 997,236 registered all other party voters
(Note: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Pennsylvania’s voting age population is estimated at 9,829,635).
Since Jan. 2010, a total of 345,439 approved new voter applications were processed:
• 149,806 registered as Democrats
• 103,518 registered as Republicans
• 6,537 registered Libertarian voters
• 85,578 registered all other party voters
This data can be found at: http://gantdaily.com/2010/11/02/nearly-8-5-million-registered-to-vote-in-pa/ More complete data can be found at: at www.dos.state.pa.us.
Now, it is projected that up to 10% of registered voters in PA could be affected by the voter ID law, perhaps as much 20% in urban areas. Even if those projections are correct there is no guarantee that the objectives of the PA GOP can be met. Indeed, due to the collateral consequences of their voter suppression efforts, it is more likely that those efforts will energize what might have been an apathetic, over-confident, Democrat base. There is another collateral consequence that possibly wasn’t considered. Independent voters are watching these efforts, as well. It is not difficult to discern what is happening here, and American’s don’t particularly like to see people trying to game the system. I don’t believe they are taking into consideration, that Americans want their competitors to “play fair.”
The Democrat Party has people working hard to get voters properly ID’d and registered, but what I find truly remarkable, is that groups like Rev. Al Sharpton‘s “National Action Network,” and Rev. Jesse Jackson‘s “Rainbow/Push Coalition are actively working to see that “all” eligible voters have the required identification, and are registered and prepared to vote. Listening to the Reverend’s Sharpton and Jackson, I’ve not heard any talk about party, except that one party is disproportionately affected by these efforts. They, simply, want all eligible people to vote. They “are” playing fair.
Notice, also, that Democrats are out registering Republicans, in the Commonwealth, by almost 50%. This will have a significant impact on the PA GOP’s voter suppression efforts, as well.
All of that being said, let’s look at the worst possible outcome. That the law stands, and all of its negative projections are met. Based on the statistics, a 10% loss of the Democrat electorate would not give the GOP a majority of the vote in Pennsylvania. (This is with voters voting along strict party lines.) When you factor in the Presidents current lead among independents, and several other demographic areas, this entire voter ID episode could end up being, just an expensive charade.
But let’s not take anything for granted, Pennsylvania. I’ve got a challenge for you. It’s “EACH ONE REACH ONE.” If each eligible, properly credentialed, voter takes a moment to insure that a person, a neighbor, a co-worker, a family member, has the proper identification, then, all of these PA GOP voter suppression efforts will be, nothing but, a waste of time and money, on their part.
That waste of time and money just may be the most important part of this entire episode. I have deliberately stayed away from talking about the groups that stand to gain the most from these voter suppression efforts. Groups like the people behind the Super PAC‘s, that are spending vast amounts of money to influence your/our elections. When we stand up to them, when we let them know that our elections are not for sale, when they see [that] there is no return on this, and these types of investment(s)…., well they are businessmen and women, practical thinking men and women. There is a better way forward for America, a “fairer” way forward for America. When this episode is over, perhaps, we can direct our combined efforts towards finding, that better, fairer, way.
In the meantime, citizens of Pennsylvania, “EACH ONE, REACH ONE!”
And then, on November 6th, VOTE!!!!!