First the facts in hand ...
by Lori Sturdevant, Minnesota Matters, startribune.com -- July 10, 2012
Ask any zealot the reason for Minnesota's proposed constitutional amendment requiring that voting be allowed only by bearers of government-issued photo ID cards, and they will invariably say: It's to prevent fraud.
They must mean that it would prevent one voter from impersonating another at the polls. That's the only kind of fraud a photo ID would prevent. It's an almost unheard-of crime in Minnesota.
But as Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson reported, a legislator in Pennsylvania was willing to say more last month before a friendly Republican audience. The Keystone State's new photo ID law would deliver its electoral votes for Republican Mitt Romney this year, assured state Rep. Mike Turzai.
Pennsylvania's equivalent of MnDOT recently issued some revealing stats: 9.2 percent of already registered Pennsylvania voters presently lack either a driver's license or an alternative state-issued photo ID card. In the highly Democratic city of Philadelphia, that percentage jumps to 18 percent. [...]
The GOP’s crime against voters
by Eugene Robinson, washingtonpost.com -- July 9, 2012
Ticking off a list of recent accomplishments by the GOP-controlled Legislature, he mentioned the new law forcing voters to show a photo ID at the polls. Said [Mike] Turzai, with more than a hint of triumph:“Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania -- done.”That’s not even slightly ambiguous. The Democratic presidential candidate has won Pennsylvania in every election since 1992. But now the top Republican in the Pennsylvania House is boasting that, because of the new voter ID law, Mitt Romney will defy history and capture the state’s 20 electoral votes in November.
Perhaps these numbers are so intoxicating that Turzai forgot the cover story about how voter ID is supposed to protect the franchise rather than selectively restrict it. His spokesman later explained that Turzai meant “the Republican presidential candidate will be on a more even keel thanks to voter ID” -- in other words, there will be a level playing field once the new law eliminates all that pesky voter fraud.
That might be reasonable, except for one fact: There’s no fraud to eliminate.
In 5-Year Effort, Scant Evidence of Voter Fraud
by Eric Lipton and Ian Urbina, nytimes.com -- April 12, 2007
Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to court records and interviews.
Although Republican activists have repeatedly said fraud is so widespread that it has corrupted the political process and, possibly, cost the party election victories, about 120 people have been charged and 86 convicted as of last year.
Most of those charged have been Democrats, voting records show. Many of those charged by the Justice Department appear to have mistakenly filled out registration forms or misunderstood eligibility rules, a review of court records and interviews with prosecutors and defense lawyers show.
Now for the analysis and implications of those slightly disturbing, little-reported facts.
James Carville, on Up with Chris Hayes this morning, made the fine distinction that he wouldn't define Pennsylvania as a 'swing state' because without it there was no clear path to a Democratic Presidential win.
The implication: PA is a 'Must Win' purple state for Dems. And thanks to Photo ID laws, hardly a sure thing, anymore.
Katrina Vanden Heuvel, also on Up with Chris Hayes this morning, mentioned the PA State Senator who had explained the real reason for new Voter-Photo ID laws, in an unguarded moment to right-wing supporters: 'To give Romney the Election, by giving Romney Pennsylvania.'
H/T to Katrina for the story idea for this current post. Non-existent Voter Fraud -- still only a topic fit to "be discussed in quiet rooms" (as Mitt Romney might say.)
A non-trivial story that is still way below the national radar screen, but why?
If these progressive thinkers are right, a lot is hanging in the upgraded PA "papers please" balance, as Eugene Robinson discovered:
It turns out that 758,939 registered Pennsylvania voters do not have the most easily obtained and widely used photo ID, a state driver’s license. That’s an incredible 9.2 percent of the registered electorate.
In 2004, for example, John Kerry’s margin over George W. Bush in the state [PA] was a mere 144,248.
That's what you might call a razor-thin victory.
The 2008 margin of victory for Obama in PA was a bit larger,
620,478 margin of victory in PA (2008)
but not large enough to overcome the 758,939 previously registered PA voters -- who are now ineligible to vote, thanks to ALEC sponsored nationwide initiatives, and GOP ALEC-stooges like Mike Turzai, carrying out their rollback-democracy orders:
Mike Turzai: Voter ID Will Allow Romney to Win Pa.
link to video
Pa. House Republican Leader Mike Turzai speaks on June 23, 2012
What is a hapless, moneyless citizen to do? How about Fight Back!
What to Bring -- Votes PA
Due to Pennsylvania's new Voter ID Law, citizens voting at their polling location are required to bring and show an acceptable photo ID before casting their ballot. If you do not bring your ID on Election Day, vote with a provisional ballot. Don’t leave without voting!
Photo ID Required for November 2012 Election
[Pennsylvania] Voters will be required to show an acceptable photo ID on Election Day. All photo IDs must contain an expiration date that is current, unless noted otherwise. Acceptable IDs include:One state down, 49 more to go ...
-- Photo IDs issued by the U.S. Federal Government or the Commonwealth of PennsylvaniaIf you do not have one of these IDs, and require one for voting purposes, you may be entitled to get one FREE OF CHARGE at a PennDOT Driver License Center. To find the Driver License Center nearest you, and learn what supporting documentation you will need to get a photo ID visit PennDOT's Voter ID Website or call the Department of State's Voter ID Hotline at 1-877-VotesPA (868-3772).
-- PA Driver’s License or Non-driver’s License photo ID (IDs are valid for voting purposes 12 months past expiration date)
-- Valid U.S. passport
-- U.S. military ID -- active duty and retired military (a military or veteran’s ID must designate an expiration date or designate that the expiration date is indefinite). Military dependents’ ID must contain an expiration date
-- Employee photo ID issued by Federal, PA, PA County or PA Municipal government
-- Photo ID from an accredited PA public or private institution of higher learning, including colleges, universities, seminaries, community colleges and other two-year colleges
-- Photo ID issued by a PA care facility, including long-term care facilities, assisted living residences or personal care homes
This is the ideological equivalent of war -- we (the reality-based community) should start treating it that way.
IOW, Be prepared. Be Informed. Take Action.
The current battle starts here: canivote.org
It's only the people's democracy that's hanging in the ALEC-tilted balance ...
PS. The GOP's "Voter Fraud" canard must be challenged too.
And the "Election Rigging" by their not-so-silent-takeover of our democracy, must be taken out of the "quiet rooms" and brought into the stark light of day. Just like we've done that unmentionable topic of "income inequality" before it.
Before it is too late; ... because if there were any justice, Mike Turzai would be the first witness to be called to account.
Reality-based people willing, of course.