Received this e-mail today from Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz's (D. PA-13) gubernatorial campaign regarding voting rights in Pennsylvania:
Very happy to see Schwartz's campaign take action on this issue. Especially since voting officials will be testifying about the voter ID laws in court:Remember 2000, when voter disenfranchisement laws gave the presidency to George W. Bush? Well, that is what the GOP has been trying to achieve right here in Pennsylvania with their voter ID law. But thanks to the Voting Rights Act, they haven't been able to.
That is, until now. With the Supreme Court's regretful decision to find parts of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional, it opens up the door for the GOP to try again. But, I know that the people of Pennsylvania are strong and with our voices united on this -- we can do something about it. Allyson has started an online petition to demand fair elections. Will you join us in our call?Can you click here and add your name to tell the GOP not to try and disenfranchise voters, but instead win the election on merits:
We have just one week left before the one-month anniversary of the ruling and we have set an aggressive goal to get as many names as possible before the date. It's up to us to make sure that the GOP doesn't win again in 2014 and then hand the presidency to whomever the GOP nominates in 2016.
And a lot of money has been poured into the voter ID law efforts:Jonathan Marks, commissioner of the Department of State's Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation, began testifying Wednesday about the evolution of the special photo ID available to voters who cannot obtain other acceptable identification. He is expected to continue his testimony Thursday in Commonwealth Court.
Marks confirmed that fewer than 4,000 of the "DOS" IDs, which became available in August, along with about 13,000 PennDOT non-driver IDs, have been issued since the law took effect.
Plaintiffs are seeking to overturn the law, one of the strictest voter ID laws in the country, on constitutional grounds. The court blocked enforcement of the law in last year's presidential election and the May primary. - WETM 18, 7/18/13
And opponents of the voter ID laws are using Governor Tom Corbett's (R. PA) own words against him:A state official says last year’s $5 million multimedia campaign to make voters aware of Pennsylvania’s new voter-identification law was larger than any similar effort by other states.
Shannon Royer, a deputy secretary of state, testified Thursday on the fourth day of the Commonwealth Court trial on the constitutionality of the photo-ID requirement for voters.
Royer declared the federally funded campaign a success despite continuing uncertainty about the law’s status. He defended his agency’s decision to earmark only about half as much in state money for voter outreach in the November election and next spring’s primary election. - The Reporter, 7/18/13
Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson ordered state officials to refrain from enforcing the law in either election in October of 2012. Judge Bernard L. McGinley, who is handling the case, is being asked to rule on a preliminary injunction and on a permanent ban on enforcing the law. He is expected to make his decision by August 9th.Gov. Tom Corbett was warned by his own administration in November 2011 that a voter ID bill he later signed into law could prevent some elderly from getting picture identity cards easily before Election Day, according to a lawyer who opposes the law.
A memo from the Aging and State departments urged Corbett to make special accommodations to help voters over 65, attorney Michael A. Rubin told a Commonwealth Court judge Monday during a 92-minute opening statement in a closely watched trial here. Corbett ignored the advice, Rubin said, leading to scores of voters' being denied their constitutional right to vote.
Corbett, a Republican, signed voter ID into law in March 2012 after it was passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature. Shortly afterward, dozens of state residents, the American Civil Liberties Union, the League of Women Voters and the NAACP filed suit to block the law. - The Morning Call, 7/15/13
Even though the voter ID's haven't been fully implemented, the Pennsylvania GOP admitted that they still helped cut President Obama's margin in Pennsylvania last year:
Even if the voter ID laws are struck down, Corbett, Gleason, Mike Turzai, State Senate Leader Dominic Pileggi and the rest of the Pennsylvania Republican Party need to be called out in their efforts to disenfranchise voters. Please do take a moment and sign Schwartz's petition:
Now PA GOP party chairman Rob Gleason has set off a new round of criticism by crediting voter ID with helping narrow Obama's margin of victory last fall.
In an interview broadcast on PCN-TV, Gleason was asked whether he thought the attention drawn to Voter ID affected last year’s elections.
He replied."Yeah, I think a little bit. We probably had a better election. Think about this, we cut Obama by 5%, which was big. A lot of people lost sight of that. He won, he beat McCain by 10%, he only beat Romney by 5%. I think that probably Voter ID had helped a bit in that." - Philly.com, 7/19/13