I have absolutely no business writing a new post tonight. Feeling a little buried in school work already this week, my plan was to bring some of it home with me and work on it tonight. Alas, the gardener, who is STILL dealing with my stupid sprinklers, called causing me to leave school in a hurry where I left all the work sitting on my desk. The alarm is set for 5am to try and catch up, so until then…
This past week partisan voter laws have been in the forefront. In order to address “voter fraud” Pennsylvania wrote a law that all citizens must show a picture ID in order to vote at the polling place. I guess if voter fraud were really a problem, the laws might be necessary, but it seems like a solution that is in search of a problem. With only ten documented cases in the entire country since 2000, it seems as if there have got to be bigger fish to fry when it comes to our governmental systems.
But then things became a bit clearer when the PA Majority Leader, Mike Turzai, made the partisan remark when sharing his stellar list of accomplishments, “Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it's done. First pro-life legislation -- abortion facility regulations -- in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.” Hmmmm…
It would seem as if this law was designed to skew the results of this year’s presidential election. Pennsylvania’s own Department of State has reported that 758,000 eligible voters will not be allowed to vote under this law because they don’t have a photo ID. Remarkably, the demographics of that number are the young, the old, the poor, and minorities…those who tend to vote for Democrats.
The law was taken to court last week and the judge stunningly upheld the voter ID law, stating it will be handled in a “Non-partisan, even-handed manner” He wrote that requiring a government-issued ID "is a reasonable, nondiscriminatory, nonsevere burden when viewed in the broader context of the widespread use of photo ID in daily life." For many of us, having a driver’s license or passport is the norm, but when you’re too poor to own a car or open a bank account or travel internationally, the need for an ID beyond proof of residency with an electric bill may not be applicable.
To keep things fair, the state is required to educate it’s residents about the new voter ID laws with advertisements. The job of doing that was given to a lobbying firm who has paid tens of thousands of dollars towards the Romney campaign and the man in charge of the campaign was once the Executive Director of the state’s Republican party. With Turzai’s comments, it’s a wonder how that education is going to turn out.
In Ohio, voting hours were on the table. There has been much debate about early voting and who gets to use it in Ohio this month. While hours in counties who lean to left were going to be shortened, counties who lean right were allowed to keep extended voting times. Interestingly enough, the board making the decision sits 3-2 Republican.
After heavy criticism of this alleged disparity, Ohio’s Secretary of State ordered that all counties have to abide by the same polling hours. Well Duh!
With the mechanisms of the vote in the hands of partisan elected officials, can any decision about elections, ever, be considered non-partisan? “Non-partisan oversight” has been thrown around over the last week or so. But really, can an oversight group made up of human beings with leanings to the left of right, truly be objective?