I can't tell you how infuriating this is, that PA Gov. Tom Corbett has so easily implemented the ALEC agenda without most people in the state ever even noticing. (Because he almost never talks to the press, so there's very little media coverage.) When he ran for governor, he said almost nothing. His commercials highlighted his background as a prosecutor, and the Democratic candidate was so forgettable, that was all he needed to do. Imagine my shock when he turned out to be a Scott Walker clone! Part of that, of course, included making sure it was a lot more difficult for poor people to vote, since they do have that annoying habit of voting for Democrats. Hopefully this will be overturned by November. Via The Nation:
We’ve seen state officials around the country flat-out lie about the imaginary problem of voter fraud—and we’ve seen how people of color and other marginalized groups stand to have their rights swiftly confiscated in the process. This time, voters in Pennsylvania will feel the brunt of a bill signed into law this past March, which may disenfranchise nearly 10 percent of voters statewide and 18 percent of voters in Philadelphia.
Although Secretary of Commonwealth Carol Aichele has repeatedly stated that 99 percent of Pennsylvania voters were already in possession of the identification needed to comply with the new law, her numbers were way off. The deliberate or accidental overestimate means that the state is stuck with a law that will potentially disenfranchise 758,939 voters.In a press release dubiously titled “Department of State and PennDOT Confirm Most Registered Voters Have Photo ID,” issued Tuesday, her own office illustrates that more than 180,000 of Philadelphia’s voters lack the proper ID to cast a ballot. More than 44 percent of Philadelphia is African-American. Pennsylvania’s strict voter ID law means that only certain forms of identification are acceptable. Even government-issued photo ID cards without an expiration date aren’t acceptable. A hearing on the voter ID bill is scheduled for July 25.
Meanwhile, Aichele and two other state secretaries face an additional lawsuit, alleging violations to the National Voter Registration Act. Also known as Motor Voter, the federal law requires registration forms be made available at a variety of state-run agencies, so that a larger part of the potential electorate can participate.The suit, filed yesterday by a coalition of voting rights groups, claims that Pennsylvania is systematically barring low-income individuals from obtaining registration forms, because they are not offered at public assistance agencies throughout the state. Less than twenty years ago, nearly 60,000 people registered per year while interacting with a public assistance agency. Yet in 2009 and 2010, less than 5,000 people did so. The 93 percent drop in registration is especially alarming, because the number of food stamps requests nearly doubled during that time.