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Busting the Myths Behind Voter ID

Does anyone really want to know the reality of the Voter ID law? Do you want to?

As anyone who reads my blog knows, I don't think very much of the PA Voter ID law, because it doesn't stop fraud, only voting. I do think you should have ID to REGISTER to vote. I started working the polls over 25 years ago and still am an inspector of elections who has sworn each election to keep them free and fair and that is exactly what I have done. No one is more against election fraud than I, but I also fight so that no one legally registered to vote is disenfranchised.

The arguments for PA's law are based on rhetoric and not logic or facts.  I know, how dare I bring those two things into the conversation.

For your reading amusement, I would like to highlight some of the more popular talking points for voter ID and give you my take on them, based on the PA law and how the election process actually works here.

1. Illegal aliens are voting.  Just how would they do that?  If they just went to the polling place, with all those officials around, (you know, a place were someone who is trying to stay under the radar would go) and tried to vote, their name would not be in the voter poll book so we would call the county with their name and address (like they would stay around for that) and check their registration. They wouldn't be there so they don't get to vote.

2. Illegal voter registrations.  The PA law doesn't address that, but you do at least need the last 4 digits of your social security number on the registration form which is checked with the social security administration. 

3. Zombie apocalypse voters, or, dead people voting. Birth dates are in the voter poll book so no one who is 40 is going to come in impersonating a person that is 90. That person would also have to be a clairvoyant forger because the signature would have to match the signature in the voter poll book. Signature doesn't match, you are asked for ID. If no ID, you fill in a provisional ballot, if you insist.

4. More votes than registered voters in a district.  You can't vote if your name is not in the voter poll book. If it is not there, and you say it should be,  we call the county and find out were you are registered to vote.  If they say you should vote here, you vote.  If they say you are not registered, you do not vote. If they say you should be voting in another district, you will be given directions.  If you still insist you should be voting there, you get a provisional ballot which will only be counted if you can prove that you should be voting here. 

5. Everyone should have ID.  I always find this one amusing because these are the same people who don't want too much government and are against a national ID card. Do you know that more than half of the IDs valid for voting in PA were non-existent when the law was passed and that's why so many people don't have ID to vote?  Veterans' photo IDs don't have expiration dates, 97 of the 110 PA colleges and universities' cards didn't have expiration dates, PA care facility IDs didn't have expiration dates, and my favorite, PA state employee ID cards don't have expiration dates.  This is why the PA Supreme Court justices' judicial ID cards, that would open many doors, are not good enough to use for voting. 

6. Voting multiple times. Since you do not need a current address on your ID, the PA law will not stop that. 

Do you know that usually when the PA assembly passes a law that another agency would have to oversee there, is a one to two year waiting period to get out all the bugs? The Department of State didn't even start addressing this until the end of July with a letter that did NOT tell the people on the no match list they were on the no match list.

Yes, you read that right. They have changed the perimeters for getting ID nine (9) times, leaving everyone, especially staff at PennDOT locations, totally confused. And that's only the beginning. I really, really know this subject and if you would like to learn more, post a comment. 

If you really care about free and fair elections, don't post your drivel in the comment section, get off your tush and help at the polls. Don't disenfranchise people who have been legally voting for years.

You can also sign and share my petition to postpone the voter ID law so the 1/2 million legally registered voters in PA who are at risk for losing their right to vote this November, don't. http://signon.org/sign/postpone-pa-voter-id

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Scoop Cooper September 29, 2012 at 09:07 PM
An excellent précis of this issue and why the implementation of this onerous law passes purely for the purpose of targeted voter suppression needs to be enjoined.
Laura Jean September 30, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Excellent article and thank you for your hard work and dedication to the voters of Pennsylvania.
Mike DeAng October 02, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Thanks Adrian. I'm glad your are raising awareness, though I am embarrassed and disgusted that my state legislators enacted these laws. I'll remember what they did for years to come each time I vote. And I have never missed an election.
Scoop Cooper October 02, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson today finally enjoined the Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth from "implementing or enforcing that part of Act 18 which amends Section 1210(a.2) of the Election Code, 25 P.S. §3050(a.2), and Section 1210(a.4)(5)(ii) of the Election Code, 25 P.S. §3050(a.4), for the general election of November 6, 2012" thus finally defeating the blatant (and eventually admitted) attempt by the GOP dominated Pennsylvania General Assembly to disenfranchise for purely partisan political purposes a significant portion of the Commonwealth's electorate who were not likely to support Republican candidates in the upcoming General Election. Pennsylvania electors will thus now NOT be required to produce a "State approved photo ID" in order to vote in person on November 6 (as opposed to being turned away or provided a "provisional ballot" which would not likely to ever be counted), and trial will also be held sometime early next year on the Petitioners' request in Applewhite et al v. Commonwealth et al to permanently enjoin Act 18. (Continued below)
Scoop Cooper October 02, 2012 at 04:23 PM
So finally all Pennsylvania voters -- no matter which candidates they plan to support -- will now be free to exercise their voting franchise this year in accordance with the Declaration of Rights set forth in the Pennsylvania Constitution at Article I, Section 5 which prescribes that elections must be free and equal and that “no power, civil or military, shall at any time interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage.” Let's hope that the many other GOP attempts at voter suppression in the rest of the states are similarly thwarted over the next 35 days in order that every citizen will be permitted to have an equal voice in selecting those who will hold political office for the next terms at ALL levels Federal, state, and local.
James M. Stallings October 02, 2012 at 06:29 PM
If I know my neighbor says he isn't going to vote, and he hasn't voted close to polls closing, would I be able to cast a vote for him (If photo ID was not a barrier? One possible way to cast an illegal vote --- I think.
Adrian Seltzer October 02, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Nope, unless no one at your polling place knows you or him, no one recognizes you as voting previously that day, you are about the same age and you can forge his signature. What are the odds? Why would you bother for 1 extra vote if you got caught, $10,000 fine I think and jail time. You or any sane person going to risk it?
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