Pennsylvania election officials announced plans Friday to reduce the number of documents required to obtain a photo ID card that will allow voters to cast ballots in November.
(From Philly.com - Link)
On one level this is great news. "...citizens will not have to produce birth certificates and Social Security cards, as currently required, to prove their identities to PennDot personnel."
Let's make it easier to vote now!
On another level this is very disturbing news. The law, requested by Governor Corbett and delivered exactly the way he designed it from the GOP Legislature, is the law. The law REQUIRES citizens to produce the Social Security Card, plus a cross-referencing document for citizenship (birth certificate, naturalization papers, passport), plus documentation stating you live where you say you live (tax bills or utility bills, etc.).
Election officials do not have the right to change this law. This law needs to be repealed by the legislature or injunctions need to be issued by the courts.
Are we a country of laws or not? If the GOP is so concerned about having rules for everything and making all of us follow their rules, they cannot take exception to those of us who actually want them to follow the rules THEY have set up.
Anyone who is on those lists is defined as disenfranchised. Even if they can somehow get their vote back, the act of putting that voter's name on a list means the GOP Law actually targeted that person for removal. They are disenfranchised by law. The GOP has to follow the rules they put in place. Force them to follow the letter of their law.
The names of the hundreds of thousands of people they are disenfranchising need to be publicly disclosed. Imagine contacting them and asking each of these people if they would like to work the polls on Election Day?
Montgomery County has estimated 45,000 people may get bumped. There are about 400 polling places. If the Democratic Party had any sense (I know, it is a stretch) they would assign about 100 people per poll to start working these polls now. The disenfranchised could call each voter in each polling district with a script that says,
Hi, I am Joanne Anyone.
I used to be able to vote before your State Rep, Mike Vereb, voted to take my vote away from me.
I plan to be working at your poll, The Church on Sunnyside Avenue, on Election Day.
I am still totaling up how much it is costing me to get all my documentation in order to get my vote back.
So far I had to deal with Social Security Admin, the Hawaii Vital Records Department ($10 for a copy of my birth certificate), and PennDot.
I had to take a day off work and pay SEPTA to get to the PennDot office.
I think it may cost me about $200 in time and running around to get my "free" Voter Id Card to get my vote back.
By the way, did you have to pay anything to keep your vote?
Repeat this about 100 more times as each of the disenfranchised leaves their names on the phone machines. On Election Day those 100 people will stand outside the polls with shirts saying,
The GOP disenfranchised me and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt.
It will be a powerful gauntlet the still enfranchised voters will have to navigate as they will need to announce themselves for voting.
The proper rule at the polls is for the name of the voter to be announced as they approach the table for verification. Poll watchers are allowed to challenge the veracity of the voter presenting themselves.
Instead, the poll watcher can relay the name of the person voting to those outside so that person can be thanked for voting by name as they leave. "Thanks for voting Mr. Jones, I remember when I could vote".
Let's play by the rules set up by the GOP. The GOP may have just crushed themselves.