Right idea, wrong implementation

Pennsylvania voter ID law ruled unconstitutional (via Raw Story )

A Pennsylvania judge struck down the state’s heavily-criticized law requiring voters to have a separate identification for use at the polls, the New York Times reported on Friday. “Voting laws are designed to assure a free and fair election,”…

*more at linked story

Last week in Pennsylvania, Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard L. McGinley struck down the PA Voter ID law that was passed prior to the 2012 elections.  This was the same law that the Pennsylvania House Republican Leader Mike Turzai said would allow Romney to win Pennsylvania in a speech given to the State Republican Committee.

House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) suggested that the House’s end game in passing the Voter ID law was to benefit the GOP politically.

“We are focused on making sure that we meet our obligations that we’ve talked about for years,” said Turzai in a speech to committee members Saturday. He mentioned the law among a laundry list of accomplishments made by the GOP-run legislature.

“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.”

The statement drew a loud round of applause from the audience. It also struck a nerve among critics, who called it an admission that they passed the bill to make it harder for Democrats to vote — and not to prevent voter fraud as the legislators claimed.

*from PoliticsPA.com

If there were a credible threat from in-person fraud, which is the only fraud that could potentially be stopped by ID laws, the State of Pennsylvania failed to show evidence for the justification of their law.  Instead, this will go down as another GOP effort that ended up in the “unconstitutional” trash heap.

There IS a great likelihood that fraud exists in our electoral system.  Most people have heard of or known places where all kinds of stories are heard about how the dead vote, how people vote multiple times, ballot box stuffing, and all other kinds of shenanigans.  As I’ve said before, there is room for improving the security of the voting system.  These cut-n-paste Voter ID laws, however, are simply a solution looking for a problem.  They are not the way we need to go about securing the vote.

As with any system, the result you get is dependent upon the quality of your beginning product.  Instead of focusing on showing IDs at the polls, the focus should be on ensuring the accuracy of the voting rolls themselves.  If the rolls are not accurate, then anything else beyond that point is already compromised.

In their zeal to maintain majority status in states and hopefully achieve majority status in D.C., conservatives appear to have hitched their wagons on limiting the votes of the opposition party instead of trying to win the voters over.  When you have to resort to tactics such as this, that should be a huge, blinking, red warning light to tell you that you need to look at your policies and how they affect the very people who you want to vote for you.  One of the downfalls of being a true conservative in the classical sense is that you are hesitant of change and choose to try to keep things the same as much as possible.  Therefore, change is your natural enemy.  In today’s society, change is inevitable, especially considering the advancement in technology and such.

If the idea is to ensure the validity and security of a fair and free election, then the idea is the right one to shoot for.  If the plan of attack to achieve that idea is to rely on the Voter ID laws as they are being passed, then that is the wrong plan of attack.  The right to vote is protected by several amendments in the Constitution, so that is not one right you can just trample for the sake of things.  A well thought out, all-encompassing legislative plan is what it will take to achieve the idea of valid and secure elections, if that truly is the intended goal.  Something, and some people, lead me to believe that the goal lies elsewhere.

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6 thoughts on “Right idea, wrong implementation

  1. Hopefully the portion relating to absentee ballots remained intact.

    Thomas Cavanaugh, a longtime Democratic committeeman in Philadelphia’s Tacony neighborhood, has two words of advice for senior citizens fretting about the state’s new photo ID requirement: absentee ballot.

    It’s a simple solution to a complicated problem, but those ballots could make a close presidential election even more contentious if lawyers begin fighting over their legitimacy.

    And the most notorious case of voter fraud since Democrats took over the city in the 1950s revolved around absentee ballots.

    Either ballot can be applied for by mail, sent to the voter’s registered address, filled out by the voter, and then sent back to election officials by mail well in advance of the Nov. 6 election.

    “It’s going to be a real brouhaha in November – a close presidential election, a big turnout,” said Cavanaugh, 70, a committeeman for 25 of the last 30 years. “If they don’t overturn [the voter ID law], this is going to be one of the biggest sideshows you’re ever going to see in your life.”

    So he’s encouraging his seniors to vote by absentee ballot.

    http://articles.philly.com/2012-08-06/news/33049812_1_absentee-ballots-voter-id-law-case-of-voter-fraud

    My apologies for the lengthy excerpt. Since the AJC did away with the opportunity to link, I’ve totally forgotten how. RW spent a lot of time teaching me. I used to practice on his dead threads. He was there with congratulations when I succeeded.

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    • No problem about the length. It’s all about discussion here.

      My only concern about absentee ballots is they are one of the top two ways that fraud is perpetrated in our system. Those and registration are the top two from what I’ve read. That is a possible solution for the ID issue, but you still have to provide an acceptable ID when registering.

      If I knew the answer, I’d write the legislation for all 50 states, but I am working on ideas as voting rights is a great concern of mine.

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  2. Brosephus:

    I underestimate myself. How ’bout running downstairs “Casino Economics” and congratulate me on my linking abilities.

    J/K

    Like riding a bike.

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  3. As I’ve said before, everybody, at least in Georgia, has a voter registration card so the best thing to do would be to phase in putting a photo on it. I agree that the real place where mischief can occur is in absentee ballots. That’s what they need to look at tightening up but to be honest, I don’t really have a good idea about how to fix that.

    There’s also a lot of places you could create mischief in the initial registration process. In my world, we have a good many people who live in Florida in the winter and up here in the summer and/or have “second homes” in Florida. A good many of these folks register their cars in Florida because tags are cheaper. They drive around up here for 6 months or so on Florida tags, which is against Georgia Law (if you are here more than 30 days you have to buy a tag) but it’s a big wink, wink, nudge, nudge and nothing is ever said about it. Most of the folks who do this are well heeled and connected but that’s another story for another day. Back to the point, seems it would probably be fairly easy for those folks to register to vote in both places, if they were so inclined. Does this happen? I have no clue but I can see the potential for mischief.

    There’s lots of places where fraud could occur and people voting for somebody else at the polls is probably down the list, if you were looking to be effective with your fraud. Where there’s a will there’s always a way and there’s always somebody who is willing to do whatever it takes to win.

    I can also see where the “outs” would be more apt to make an issue of this than the “ins”. If the “outs” and “ins” switched places I have no doubt the new “outs” would be just as likely to raise this issue if thought it would help them get back in. When it comes to politicians, I have no faith in the motives of any of them.

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    • When it comes to politicians, I have no faith in the motives of any of them.

      Ditto!! As you said, where there’s a will, there’s a way. I doubt we will ever be corruption free, but I’m all about mitigating it as much as possible.

      Like

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