Wednesday, August 22, 2012

If Your Vote Doesn't Matter, Why Are They Trying to Steal It? (August 22, 2012)

My wife, Wendy, is the author of this guest blog which focuses on the atrocity of the new Pennsylvania voter ID law, pushed through by the Republican state legislature and upheld by Commonwealth Court Judge (and Republican) Robert Simpson.  The ruling is now being appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
Last week Tom and I helped our younger daughter move to Pennsylvania to begin grad school.  Being of the helicopter parent generation, before we left home, I spent time researching everything from supermarket locations to bus routes to transferring a driver’s license to Pennsylvania.  I’m happy to report that Pennsylvania does indeed have supermarkets (hey, I’m a mom, I worry!), but I determined that the driver’s license would have to wait until there was time to negotiate the bureaucratic labyrinth.
So, fast forward to multiple Bed, Bath and Beyond runs in Pittsburgh.  As we were driving through a neighborhood that looked a little down and out, we passed by the Kingsley Center, a community center which offers programs such as youth services and family support to low income residents.  A sign was scrolling outside which read, “If your vote doesn’t matter, why are they trying to steal it?”  Given the shenanigans in Florida, I made a mental note of this, but it wasn’t until later when I caught up on the news that I learned that a Pennsylvania state judge had upheld a ruling requiring photo IDs for voters.  Hmmm … I’d just recently decided that the process for getting my daughter’s  driver’s license, the same process required for a state ID, was too time consuming to deal with on this trip.  How would someone with no car, no money, and no time manage that four mile trip to downtown Pittsburgh to get an ID to vote?  After years of voting without a picture ID, how would he or she necessarily know that such an ID is now required?  If you want to make your head spin, take a quick look at what’s involved in getting a state ID in Pennsylvania:
I’m going to confess that when I first heard about voter ID laws, my gut reaction was “this isn’t such a horrible idea.”  But then I examined the logistics of getting that ID (and remember, we’re not talking logistics for the well-educated, well-read citizen with time to go to the DMV over a two hour lunch with neatly organized social security card, birth certificate, utility bills and lease agreements -- those people already have pictures IDs).   I thought about the close timing of these new laws with Election Day.  And I saw it for what it is: a campaign to deny the vote to those citizens least able to advocate for themselves (and not coincidentally, very likely to vote the Democratic ticket).
According to an article in, nine percent of Pennsylvania’s eligible voters could be disenfranchised by this new law.  The article goes on to say, “There's little secret about the purpose of the bill. As the state's Republican House Majority Leader, Mike Turzai, told a partisan audience in June, it "is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania."  (for the full text,   Whether you’re Republican or Democrat is irrelevant with this one: this kind of activity can’t make you proud of your country.  It makes me feel weary.  But when you give up, you give in.  Tom and I will be in Pennsylvania campaigning this fall.  What will you be doing?  If you have a heavy work schedule, children at home or other constraints on your time and resources, you can make phone calls or write letters to the editor, and whatever you do, take your picture ID to the polls and vote.
Comments welcome!


  1. I've read a lot about this voter ID law... really terrible. And it's sad how blatant the state legislature has been about the purpose of the bill. I also have heard stories about polling places being open for longer hours in primarily Republican districts than in primarily Democratic districts (I think in Ohio?). Might as well go back to poll taxes and literacy tests if we're going to be this obvious in our efforts to disenfranchise voters....

  2. Fact, it took my mom and I ten minutes to get her a pa id

    The location was on a highly accessible bus line

    And btw 20+ other states have such a law

    And looking at the long lines of immigrants for the most recent presidential order...shouldn't citizenship be required to vote?

    1. Pennsylvania doesn't really have much of a problem with illegal immigration though. Illegal immigrants make up 1.3 percent of the state population, ranking 40th among the states. Why does this state need to check citizenship at the polls? The photo ID law would prevent more citizens and legal residents (mostly young voters and minority voters) from voting than illegal immigrants.

      Furthermore, only six states require photo ID to vote: Mississippi, Kansas, Georgia, Indiana, Tennessee, and now Pennsylvania. Hoping the Justice Department reaches the same conclusion in Pennsylvania as they did in Texas.

  3. Texas has a consent order and history of voting issues. Pa different . If feds intervene... Proof of Obama extension of federal government into states decisions

    My last comment in the blog...
    I give up swing voters in swing counties here!

    hope you get back to the numbers...

    Back to the truth on fox news channel for me!!!

    1. Ah, the Fox New Channel . . . . suddenly something begins to makes sense.


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