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Fruit from the Voter ID Tree

Why not hold the GOP responsible for the cost of the Voter Id debacle?

Democrats in Pennsylvania have an opportunity to turn the tables completely around on the GOP.

They can turn Governor Tom Corbett into a lame duck governor.

They can actually take back the legislature.

The GOP has overreached on the voter ID laws. Say what you want about having voter ID, but the real reason the Democrats can parlay this 8-month gaffe (yes, it was signed back in March) into an epic win is taxes.

To paraphrase Allen Iverson:

Taxes -- yeah, we're talking about taxes.

The GOP's Achilles' heel in all of this was how to pay for implementation of this law. They did not budget properly and as a result the Democrats can turn the entire voter ID mess into an issue of fiscal management -- you know -- TAXES.

If the Democratic Party or Jack Wagner, the Democratic auditor general, can quickly come up with a legitimate time-and-motion study showing the direct and indirect costs of implementing this law they will have a basis to attack the GOP.

Some direct state government costs can include:

  • How much did it cost to draft the law?
  • How much time was spent in committees bantering this around?
  • Once the law was passed there were a number of dog-and-pony shows across the state where people could ask state officials about this law; the people from the PA Department State had to be paid to get there.
  • How much is the state spending to continually challenge this law in court?
  • How much has been spent in notifying the public? There are mailers being sent out, newspaper ads placed, commercials produced.
  • How much is this costing PennDot? Since they are the keepers of the ID cards, there are new costs of producing and distributing these Ids.

At the county level some indirect costs include training the existing poll workers as well as adding significantly more poll workers to process this election. These costs are borne not by the state but the county. So your county taxes have to go up.

Now let's look at the indirect costs. Each taxpayer's time is money. Each voter has to go through the motions of actually checking if they can vote. If they do not have the proper ID, they have to make an effort to get to the place where they can get the ID. So you have traveling costs associated with this -- the state is making you spend gas or bus fare to vote.

These are small samples of the rippling effects of a poorly planned law.

Once the Democrats come up with a total dollar value associated with this debacle, they can turn around and call it a tax increase based on government waste. If there is an injunction placed on this law, the waste of those dollars is amplified 10 times over.

The issue becomes the GOP cannot manage money properly. This is the reason why Pennsylvania has one of the most expensive legislatures in the country -- they put together half-baked laws without respect to the costs or damages of their actions.

If the Democrats want to deliver the blow using the educational system, divide the massive amount of wasted money by the 500 or so school districts.

Inform the voters the cost of that voter ID card before they walk into the polls.

Customized literature goes into every home stating clearly, that the local school district would have been able to afford another teacher or program, but because the GOP-controlled state cannot handle the cash, we can't have nice things.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Curmudgeon October 05, 2012 at 09:15 AM
Can I charge you for the time I wasted reading your blog???
Feodor Tiorlenko October 05, 2012 at 10:41 AM
Curmudgeon, here's your test. Blowme.
Curmudgeon October 05, 2012 at 11:59 AM
@Feodor: You need to have one and be able to find it, you're a pussy!! so you mean eat me don't you??
Feodor Tiorlenko October 05, 2012 at 12:37 PM
@Curmudgeon, you are a tragedy as a human being.
Joe The Nerd Ferraro October 05, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Evidently a number of other folks liked it.
Joe The Nerd Ferraro October 05, 2012 at 01:28 PM
so you don't think that the GOP should be held responsible for all the tax dollars they wasted?
Curmudgeon October 05, 2012 at 02:10 PM
In reality, the court did not toss out the ID law. While I support the ID law, I think it could have been done in a more thoughtful way. I suspect those who oppose it will do so even if the courts validate it in total, when revise. Anyway, Joe, my original comment was just my humor. Feodor cannot take my one-up-manship. (if that's a word)
Don M October 05, 2012 at 08:14 PM
While we're at it, can our federal legislators be held accountable for the runaway slip-and-fall and medical lawsuit verdicts they allow to occur? Mr. Ferraro, I applaud your desire to hold our officials accountable for waste but, please, let's not pretend it's not happening in bulk on both sides of the aisle and let's go after them all. Throw out every incumbent (R and D) and start over with non-career politicians who vote on principle and educated assessment, not party line.
Phillyboy October 19, 2013 at 10:18 AM
Joe the Nerd...I can think of of at least 40 transactions that require ID. ID laws protect the integrity of the vote. Those same people who supposedly get disenfranchised are the same ones that need to show ID for their entitlements.

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