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.But let's get back to the PA legislation. Go click on the link - guess who the prime sponsor is of this odiousness?
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.
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.Ah, ALEC!
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!