What Fresh Hell Is This?

June 24, 2011

Darryl Metcalfe and Voter "Fraud"

In my email box today I received this mailing from my state representative, Dan Frankel. It begins with:
Movement is afoot in the General Assembly to pass a bill that will make it harder for many people to vote, while at the same time wasting millions of dollars. House Bill 934 is a Republican-sponsored bill I oppose that would require every voter to provide unexpired, valid government photo identification issued by Pennsylvania or the federal government to participate in each election.
Frankel's mailing points out the whole purpose of the bill is to make it more difficult for some citizens to vote - all while fixing a problem that doesn't exist.

And who'll find it more difficult to vote? E. J. Dionne writing in the Washington Post about the efforts underway in many states to impose "Voter ID" laws asserted:
These statutes are not neutral. Their greatest impact will be to reduce turnout among African Americans, Latinos and the young. It is no accident that these groups were key to Barack Obama’s victory in 2008 — or that the laws in question are being enacted in states where Republicans control state governments.

Again, think of what this would look like to a dispassionate observer. A party wins an election, as the GOP did in 2010. Then it changes the election laws in ways that benefit itself. In a democracy, the electorate is supposed to pick the politicians. With these laws, politicians are shaping their electorates.
But let's get back to the PA legislation. Go click on the link - guess who the prime sponsor is of this odiousness?

Our good friend Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) and in a true Orwellian turn, defends the law as a necessary protection:
“Countless American patriots have and continue to put their lives on the line around the world to preserve our freedoms, including the freedom to privately and confidentially cast a vote at the ballot box," Metcalfe said. “Final passage of the Pennsylvania Voter Identification Protection Act will further uphold one of the most fundamental rights of American citizenship.”
By making it more difficult for people who'll tend to vote for his party's rivals, of course.

But does Metcalfe have reason to believe that Pennsylvania voting rights need to be protected? He thinks he does:
Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R., Butler), the sponsor, said the measure was necessary to cut down on "significant voter fraud plaguing Pennsylvania's elections."
Except he doesn't. From Frankel's mailing:
In the 2008 presidential election, 5,995,137 Pennsylvanians cast ballots, but from that year until now, just FOUR people have been prosecuted for voter fraud.
From a report by the Brennan Center for Law and Justice at NYU:
Allegations of widespread voter fraud, however, often prove greatly exaggerated. It is easy to grab headlines with a lurid claim ("Tens of thousands may be voting illegally!"); the follow-up - when any exists - is not usually deemed newsworthy. Yet on closer examination, many of the claims of voter fraud amount to a great deal of smoke without much fire. The allegations simply do not pan out.
On his webpage, Metcalfe states that his legislation is "[m]odeled after Indiana’s photo identification law..."

Do we need to trace that law? I guess we do.

From the NYTimes, in an editorial about the latest round of Voter ID laws:
Many of these bills were inspired by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a business-backed conservative group, which has circulated voter ID proposals in scores of state legislatures.

So when I asked here about any ALEC legislation in Harrisburg I guess we have an answer.

This Voter ID bill that is an attempt to fix a problem that doesn't exist by making it more difficult for voters who may lean Democratic to vote.

Yes, that's what Metcalfe's patriots are protecting!


Ol' Froth said...

The other thing to remember is that voting is a Constitutionally protected right. With a right, it is not up to the citizen to "prove" that he's entitled to the right, it us up to the government to "prove" that he's NOT entitled to the right.

In other words, if I say I'm John Doe, and I'm properly registered to vote, its not up to me to prove I am who I say I am. If I'm to be challenged in my right, it is up to the government to provide reasonable, credible suspician that I am NOT who I say I am before denying me a right.

You can make a case for a first time voters having to provide some reasonable assurence that they're who they say they are (and there are many ways to do that besides through a photo ID). After that, not so much.

EdHeath said...

I am tempted to respond in a couple of different ways ...


There are a lot of people now, some with similar names. People also don't bother to inform the elections bureau when they move, and names stay on the rolls for a while after a voter dies. Mostly I think that all that means is that there are s lot of "dead" names on the rolls, but maybe it is time to do something about that (before some fraud does occur). Some sort of national ID with biometric identifiers might be a good idea. If it had a radio signal, then advertising could be targeted directly to you (I think I saw this on "Minority Report"). Soon perhaps we will all be rolling around sitting in our hover-round chairs, drinking our big gulps (and peeing into a truckers' friend) and living the life described in Wall-e.

'cause you know, voter's rights are over-rated.

BWilhm said...

The American citizens’ right to select their representatives via a free and fair election system is critical to our constitutional republic. Further, it is up to we the people to ensure the integrity of our election system. I work the polls during elections and it is virtually impossible to know that the person holding a piece of paper with a name and address is indeed that person without knowing that individual. Also, once that person is allowed to vote and leave the polls, it is virtually impossible to locate and prosecute that person for voter fraud. Surely, we demand more from our election system.

Requiring voters to show a photo ID as identification to vote provides greater assurance of their identity or provides poll workers with immediate information needed to stop improper voting. Survey’s support that more than 8 out of 10 Americans have photo IDs today. Further, it is common practice for photo IDs to be requested if not required as identification to obtain medical and social/welfare services, to execute financial transactions, to access transportation services, or to get a job. Those without IDs are limited in their ability to conduct these day-to-day activities simply by lacking a photo ID. Photo ID laws also provide a means for those without these IDs to obtain these photo IDs at state taxpayer expense. These IDs not only improve election system integrity, but also remove the day-to-day disadvantages for those who lack photo IDs. Given this common sense understanding, I must question the motives of those who stand against these photo ID laws. At best this appears to be political spin aimed to misinform and rally select groups of people or at worst a direct act to leave our election process open to fraudsters.

Ol' Froth said...

Whaaa??/ You mean you don't check to see that their signatures match with the signatures in the book??

Photo ID requirements are nothing more than attempt to suppress turnout.

You can count voter fraud cases on one hand.

Dayvoe said...


BWilhm isn't from around here. The Statcounter data shows he's from Humble, Texas.

Coincidentally, there's a "BWilhm" in Houston (and Humble is a suburb of Houston) who seems to be rather active in the Texas Tea Party/Texas Sons of Liberty Riders/Patriot Action Network communities.

Can't say for sure it's the same guy, of course.

EdHeath said...

The real danger of voter fraud is in larger aspects of the voter process. If a partisan county elections hires only partisan poll workers, they could allow the "right" people to vote multiple times. But that is still small potatoes compared to what a voting machine company (like, what, Diebold) could do. Hacking votes that do not have a paper trail is a simple matter of accessing the file (without leaving an electronic trail) and changing the vote. This site might indicate possible problems with the voting machine system (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Premier_Election_Solutions)

Conservative Mountaineer said...

@Ed.. On this, I agree with you. Foregoing paper ballots has and will be a travesty. There is absolutely no way to verify ballots. Sure, the *total* votes (should) agree with the *total* number of voters, but one cannot see how the voters actually voted.

As an aside, I was a poll-watcher in the 2008 Presidential election. What I saw in a Wilkensburg district made me sick. Yes, I *know* there is a right to vote, but I guess I wasn't prepared for what I experienced. I truly felt sorry for many.. they're (sorta) victims of the 'War on Poverty'.. others were simply pawns of the Democrat party (slobbering incoherent 'voters' in wheel-chairs whose 'vote' was actually recorded by their 'caregiver', a/k/a Democrat operative). No amount of voter ID will stop this type of sh*t. Yeah, you guys took this precinct by about 600-10.

Conservative Mountaineer said...

I suppose I could also say..

Just because it's a right doesn't always make it right.

Oops, just did.

EdHeath said...

Well, CM, it's good that we agree that the electronic voting machines (as marketed and distributed) are pretty suspect. Among other problems, the CEO of Diebold (which was an early large supplier of voting machines) was a strong supporter of George W Bush. That might explain 2004.

As for the the effects of the War on Poverty, since the Johnson administration we have 28 years of Republican Presidency (including the Reagan "revolution") versus 16 (by 2012) years of Democratic Presidency. There were at least four year during Bush the second's reign where the Republicans had majorities in both chambers of Congress. Your "(sorta) victims of the "War on Poverty"" are somewhat more likely to be victims of Republican cutbacks in education, unemployment benefits and other basic services. But take heart, the point of Bayvoe's post was that Darryl Metcalfe wants to (further) limit the right to vote of the poor. Once Republicans have gotten their way, we may well be unable to vote unless we are white male landowners, we may all be forced to attend evangelical churches, roving gangs of religiously motivated youths may beat women who are dressed immodestly, dare to work or even drive. Republicans may yet realize their dream of turning the US into ... Iran.