Fight GOP efforts to suppress voting

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A Republican proposal to make Pennsylvania voters produce government-issued photo identification at the polls will soon become law.

The Republican-sponsored House Bill 934 was sent last week to the state Senate for consideration by a vote of 108–88. The bill is expected to pass the Republican-controlled state Senate and then signed into law by Republican Gov. Tom Corbett.

Supporters said the bill would prevent impersonation at the polls, fictitious registrations, double voting and voting by illegal aliens.

Pennsylvania law currently requires voters to produce identification only when they vote for the first time in a given polling place.

Supporters of the bill are wrong to back this legislation which would make voting unnecessarily difficult.

The bill is a bad legislation and must be challenged by every means possible including the courts.

There is no evidence of significant voter fraud in Pennsylvania or the dozens of other states where Republicans have passed or are close to passing similar legislation.

Doug Hill, the executive director of the nonpartisan County Commissioners of Pennsylvania, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that no county had reported even a suspicion of significant voter fraud.

“It just doesn’t happen the way (bill) supporters are claiming it does,” Hill said.

Since there is no evidence of significant voter fraud it is difficult not to see the photo identification requirement movement as nothing more than an effort to suppress Democratic voters.

Photo identification requirement laws often result in lower turnout rates among low-income residents, the elderly and minorities, the traditional base of the Democratic Party.

New York University’s School of Law published a report last month that showed that voter-identification bills have a more significant impact on minority voters who are 5 to 10 percent less likely to have the kind of identification necessary under such laws.

The photo identification requirement effort is not about preventing fraud it’s about winning elections.

The GOP is pushing a national effort to require voter identification at the same time that it is pushing unpopular legislation to deeply slash Medicare, Medicaid, public education and other social programs.

Republicans can stave off a potential backlash from poor, minority and elderly voters by making it more difficult for them to vote.

Other GOP efforts to reduce the power of Democratic voters include the assault on unions which are major financial contributors to the Democratic Party.

Civil rights leaders and the Democratic Party must challenge the legislation in the courts. They must also work on massive voter education and registration and mobilize voters to get proper photo identification so they can vote.

GOP efforts to suppress voting, slash social programs and weaken public-sector unions should motivate Blacks, Latinos, workers, and the elderly to vote in unprecedented numbers in upcoming elections.

(Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune.)

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