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First, let me apologize to Carole Aichele.  I lived in Pennsylvania for many years.  I didn't even know they had a Secretary of the Commonwealth.  Had anyone bothered to tell me about this, I certainly would have done something thoughtful like buying her chocolates for Secretary's Day or something.  Of course, then I would have expected her to actually perform a useful function the other days of the year.    

For example, if being Secretary of the Commonwealth meant she was "the top election official" responsible for implementing Pennsylvania voter laws, I would expect her to do her best to see the laws were implemented.  Now, I don't know what all those laws are, but I expect she would.

You can imagine my surprise to learn -- she doesn't know.  When I say "she doesn't know" -- I mean that literally.   She is not shy about telling everyone, either.

The CBS affiliate in Philadelphia, Channel 3, reports:

Pennsylvania’s Secretary of the Commonwealth was on the witness stand today, during day five of the court hearing on Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law.

And her testimony just added to the confusion over exactly how many voters need ID.

Secretary of the Commonwealth Carole Aichele is the top state official in charge of implementing the voter ID.  But when she took the stand she was cagey, even making jokes in some instances in her response to plaintiffs’ attorneys.

At one point, when lawyers asked her about the details of the voter ID law, Aichele responded, “I don’t know what the law says.”

When you think about it, you have to admire the woman.  Laws change all the time.  Everyone knows that.  That means you are destined to waste a lot the time learning laws only to have to learn them again when they get changed.  That is terribly inefficient, if you ask me.  Carole Aichele obviously came to the same conclusion and in a sheer stroke of genius has hit upon the most efficient way of dealing with the problem.  

If you don't bother to learn the law you are responsible for implementing, you won't have to unlearn it later when it gets changed.  

Even if people mistake your slavish devotion to efficiency with public malfeasance and fire your lame ass, you still win.  At least you didn't waste time learning some useless legal mumbo-jumbo you were never going to use anyway.

If this was a sitcom or a reality TV show, this might be a funny premise.  But this is a woman whose job is to safeguard one of the most sacred rights uniquely enjoyed by American citizens, the right to vote.   If this was some teabagger in one of those meth labs of democracy like Arizona, South Carolina or Texas, this might be expected.  But this is a woman who works in Pennsylvania, the state that brought us the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and Benjamin Franklin.  

It's a good thing Ben is long dead.  This would certainly have killed him.  I was a kid when I first read the chilling predictionhe made at the Constitutional Convention of 1787.  I forget how old I was, but I remember that is where I learned what the word "despot" meant:

I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other.
I used to console myself thinking, "If this ever comes to pass, it won't be any time soon."  Now, I am not so sure.  If you are concerned, support the ACLU in its fight against voter suppression and the associated Voter-ID laws cropping up across the country.  Otherwise, the terrorists win.

Originally posted to 8ackgr0und N015e on Wed Aug 01, 2012 at 04:54 AM PDT.

Also republished by DKos Pennsylvania.

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