Politicos React to Voter ID Ruling

It may be the most important issue in Pennsylvania politics this election, and today, Judge Robert Simpson made his decision to deny an injunction that would prevent the Voter ID law from being implemented this cycle.

The new Voter ID law stands as is for now, and here are some reactions from politicos across the state.

PA GOP Chairman Rob Gleason

“Today is an important day for voters in the state of Pennsylvania as the Commonwealth Court’s ruling protects the integrity of our electoral process at every level – city, state and federal.  I applaud the Commonwealth Court for displaying courage and conviction in this ruling.  With sensational headlines and half-truths about this legislation being touted by partisan critics, we are fortunate that the Commonwealth Court realized that the sanctity of our elections was at stake – and took appropriate action to protect a cherished right.”

PA Dems Chairman Jim Burn

“Pennsylvania Democrats are committed to protecting Pennsylvanians’ right to vote, and we will continue to educate voters about the new ID requirements and the process to acquire an appropriate ID to ensure that all eligible voters can get to the polls and exercise their right to vote in November. For months, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party has implemented programs designed to ensure Pennsylvanians have the proper identification and we will continue our work as the legal process unfolds.”

Allegheny County Democratic Committee Chair Nancy Patton Mills

“The Allegheny County Democratic Committee and its 2,500+ members will continue to fight for the right of all citizens in Allegheny County to exercise their right to vote in November. We will continue to call and door knock voters to ensure they have the necessary ID, and work with them if they do not. We encourage Gov. Corbett and his Department of State to redouble their efforts on notifying voters if they have an issue and provide a free ID to any voter who may need one.”

Jennifer Austin, Obama for America PA Press Secretary

“Regardless of today’s decision, we remain committed to working with supporters and volunteers across the state to register and educate Pennsylvanians about the Voter ID law. We want to ensure all eligible voters have the information they need to get to the polls in November and exercise their right to vote.

“Since the passage of the law our campaign has included information on the new provisions in volunteer trainings, information resources, online, and in voter registration and education activities, and we will continue to do so. Now more than ever it is important that the Commonwealth follow through on its plan to make available free IDs to any voter who may need them. Regardless of party affiliation, we support ensuring any voter eligible to cast a ballot has the right to do so.”

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Phila, PA-02)

“The right to vote is our most precious right, and it trumps all others. That should be self-evident at this time in our history. But today’s ruling in Commonwealth Court places this pre-eminent right at the mercy of unreasonable burdens on our senior citizens, our college students, on minorities, on those who don’t have driver’s licenses, and those who may have been born in another state where life-cycle record-keeping is, or was, unreliable.

“The plaintiffs, who recognize all these failings, will rightly and promptly appeal. A fair hearing in Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court will restore full voting rights to hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians facing disenfranchisement.”

Missa Eaton (D-Mercer, Challenger for PA-03)

“The Voter ID law is an incredibly expensive solution for a non-existent problem. The Republicans were caught red-handed on video trumpeting this law, despite the fact that it is an overt political attempt win the election through voter suppression. This law severely threatens the Constitutional right to vote, especially for our elderly, disabled, and students.  It is vitally important that we reach out to these groups and ensure that they have one of the six approved IDs to vote on November 6th.”

U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Montgomery, PA-13)

“It is extremely disappointing that the Court would jeopardize the ability of tens of thousands of registered Pennsylvania voters to cast their ballots this November.The real issue should be how to simplify access to the voting process to engage more voters to come out and cast their ballot. Instead, the Court’s decision today to enable the Governor and the State Legislature to impose greater obstacles to voting defies understanding and is un-American.

“There is much to do in a short time to ensure that voters across Pennsylvania have the information they need and access to the remedies required to allow them to vote this November. This will not be easy. And while civic organizations and campaigns will do their best, it is essential that State offices are available to potential voters to enable them to get the official ID they need to vote.”

Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia, SD-01)

“Today’s deplorable ruling by Commonwealth Court Judge Simpson will keep hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians from exercising their right to vote. In fact, according to a recent AFL-CIO study, the highest number of registered seniors who do not have an approved photo ID live my district. This is not over yet, but everyone — Republican and Democrat — needs to act now so they can get their ID in order to cast their vote in November.”

Shirley Kitchen (D-Philadelphia, SD-03)

“I am extremely disappointed in the court’s decision. Pennsylvania does not have a voter fraud issue, but we now have a voter suppression issue. It’s now more important than ever to make sure that every voter is eligible to vote in November’s election, and Philadelphia senators will be making every effort to help all citizens who need proper ID.”

LeAnna Washington (D-Philadelphia, SD-04)

“This is a very sad day for the registered voters in my district whose votes are at risk because they lack the required identification. The courts are supposed to be non-partisan and protect the rights of citizens, yet this was a partisan decision made without proof of voter fraud in Pennsylvania.

“I want to encourage my constituents not to get discouraged by this ruling. Instead, I want everyone to make sure that they take action as soon as possible to ensure that they are not disenfranchised at the polls. Through my Voter Identification Education Initiative, my staff and I have been working tirelessly within our community to help residents obtain and complete the forms they need to get an ID. My offices remain open for those who need assistance with this process.”

Mike Stack (D-Philadelphia, SD-05)

“We should not make it harder for people to exercise their right to vote. The passage of the voter ID measure into law and subsequent court ruling are extremely disappointing because this law was crafted for partisan advantage, rather than voter protection. When laws are crafted for partisan political gain, we lose the public’s trust.”

Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia, SD-07)

“Hundreds of thousands of voters could be effectively shut out of the election process under the guise of voter fraud.  Without any evidence of this so-called fraud, this law is nothing more than another way to tip the odds in favor of the Republican presidential candidate this November.This is an extremely partisan law that Pennsylvania is ill prepared to implement.  It is my plan to continue to fight this voter suppression law and assist the public with obtaining the necessary documentation to vote in November.”

Tom O’Brien (D-Lancaster, Candidate for SD-13)

“People in this state and elsewhere are sick to death of politics poisoning the decisions that affect their everyday lives. A new, independent study of more than 2,000 election-fraud cases since 2000 found that in-person voter impersonation, which these new ID laws supposedly are intended to prevent, is virtually non-existent, but clearly that doesn’t matter to the politicians who hatched this law. More than 15,000 Republicans age 70 or older may be affected in the 13th District alone, along with nearly 7,800 Democrats and 1,600 Independents.

“Judge Simpson didn’t dispute the fact that there are Pennsylvanians who want to vote who will be impacted at least in some way by his refusal to order an injunction. He didn’t discount the idea that there are young people and seniors and poorer members of our society who will have to jump through hoops to get the documentation they, for the first time, will need to vote. There should be no obstacles making it difficult for a citizen of this state to vote.”

Charles Gehret (R-Montco, Candidate for SD-17)

“Judge Robert Simpson was right to set aside the appeal of opponents to the Voter ID law today and uphold Pennsylvania’s noble move to install more integrity in our electoral process. The vast majority of Pennsylvania residents and most voters in Senate District 17 back this law. Still, Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montco, SD-17) continues to demagogue the issue even after he has been proven wrong at every turn.

“Sen. Leach backs an appeal of Judge Simpson’s decision to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court – a further waste of time and taxpayer money to potentially interfere in the election,” Gehret said. “Never let it be said that Sen. Leach let logic, taxpayer expense and Democracy get in the way of his far out opinions – ideas he shares with the most radical Americans like Rev. Al Sharpton who do not hold the moderate values of the 17th District.”

Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny, SD-43)

“The decision of the court is highly disturbing and disconcerting. Without question, the goal of the voter ID law was to disenfranchise voters and suppress voting so that Republicans could gain the upper hand in this fall’s presidential election. This law was never about preventing voter fraud. The state’s attorneys stipulated that there was no evidence of fraud and witness after witness presented details about the obstacles that they face in trying to comply with the law.

“Taking away a citizen’s right to vote and participate in a democracy is a serious matter. No one who is eligible to vote should be prevented from casting their ballot. The right to vote deserves to be protected and participation should be secured not shredded. That is why I am hopeful that the Supreme Court will step in and restore a person’s right to vote by overturning the ruling of Commonwealth Court.”

Kimberly Villella (D-Beaver, Candidate for SD-47)

“Today the Commonwealth Court ruled in favor of the Voter ID law that could potentially cost as much as $11 million in taxpayer dollars. I am deeply disappointed in the decision because this law is not meant to address any real problem: it was put in place in an attempt to give one political party an advantage over another in November’s election.

“As a business owner, I can tell you that I don’t spend money to ‘fix’ problems that do not exist.  I spend money where it is absolutely needed or I reinvest in the continued growth of my business.  My opponent, a farmer by trade, most likely applies these same principles to his farm as well.  But he, like many lawmakers who supported this, must have forgotten these values when he voted for this bill.  I can only hope that the Supreme Court overturns this ruling and strikes down this bill that not only infringes on the constitutional right of Pennsylvanians but also wastes a lot of taxpayer cash in the process.”

Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler, HD-12)

Metcalfe, who was instrumental in passing the bill, talked about voter fraud today, telling WHYY radio that “there’s fictitious voter registrations that have been filed, which result in fictitious individuals being on the voter rolls, which then anybody can vote as that fictitious individual. And you have illegal aliens that are voting, or foreign nationals that are here legally that may be voting that can be prevented through this.”

Audio of the interview was pending as of 4:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny, HD-23)

“This court ruling represents an injustice for hundreds of thousands of people. The judge disregarded the clear evidence of the disproportionate burden and costs this law places on many people who don’t have an ID that qualifies or all of the necessary documents to obtain one. Worried seniors and others call my office every day trying to figure out how to get the voter identification they need: people with health concerns — everything from simple frailty to recovery from a broken neck — for whom a trip to a PennDOT driver’s license center is a heavy burden.

“The judge also relied heavily on the promised Department of State ID – which still isn’t available. This decision also overlooks the lack of preparedness by the Corbett Department of State…My advice to Pennsylvanians is this: Please don’t wait until the last minute…While I hope the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will do the right thing with regard to this unjust law, we cannot count on that. I urge any voter with any doubt about his or her ID to check today whether it will be accepted at the polls.”

House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny, HD-28)

“The integrity of each and every valid vote was upheld today. As the court said, the requirements of Act 18 will be implemented in a non-partisan, even-handed manner by Commonwealth agencies, and qualified voters will have their votes counted.The many election reforms enacted, including voter ID, are aimed to ensure citizens and registered voters have the right to vote and have their vote counted. It’s about one person, one vote, and each instance of fraud dilutes legitimate votes.”

House Minority Leader Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny, HD-33)

“Today’s ruling is a travesty not just for those Pennsylvanians whose right to vote will be stripped away by this law but for all Pennsylvanians and all American citizens. A threat to one person’s right to vote is a threat to us all. I sincerely hope the Supreme Court will right this terrible wrong and will overturn this decision in time for the November elections. The commonwealth’s highest court should see what the rest of the nation so plainly does – that this law is a scam.We must remain vigilant, continue to fight and make the case that the right to vote is not just our most sacred as . Americans but also our most fragile. We cannot allow partisan gamesmanship to trump American citizenship.”

Will Sylianteng (D-Montco, Candidate for HD-151)

“I was deeply disappointed this morning when I learned of the Commonwealth Court’s decision to uphold the Voter ID law. This legislation was recklessly passed by the Republican leadership in Harrisburg with the support of Representative Stephens, despite the fact that 3,322 residents in the 151st District will be at risk of losing their inalienable right to vote…Millions of our taxpayer dollars are being wasted to implement this unnecessary and unjust law – money that could be better spent dealing with real issues like education and job creation and solving real problems such as infrastructure development and repair. This Voter ID law is seriously flawed, politically-motivated, fiscally irresponsible and a dangerous piece of legislation that should not be allowed to stand.

“One of the reasons I am running for State Representative is because I feel the 151st district deserves better leadership than we have been receiving. We deserve a voice in Harrisburg who won’t just follow the party bosses by voting for bad legislation which hurts honest, hard-working Pennsylvanians. We have an opportunity to change the way Harrisburg is being run, and I plan to be fighting on behalf of the constituents of my district against the powerful forces which have little concern for our interests.”

August 15th, 2012 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Harrisburg, Top Stories | 27 Comments

27 thoughts on “Politicos React to Voter ID Ruling”

  1. Everyone loves what you guys are usually up too. This sort of clever work and reporting!
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  2. domain says:

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  3. Patricia Shively says:

    please send me an email address so I can forward an email sent re my efforts trying to get an absentee ballot for Luzerne Co which has been most challenging

  4. John says:

    Flawed premise: Using the number of cases prosecuted as a barometer of whether a crime has been or is being committed.

  5. David Diano says:

    1) The law doesn’t prevent voter impersonation fraud, which can still occur by absentee ballot.

    2) Showing up with utility bill, credit cards, or just your voter registration card would “prevent” the non-existent voter impersonation fraud.

    3) The state stipulated that repealing the law would not be expected to increase voter impersonation fraud.

    BJ-
    There are no polling places in Philly (or the state) where more votes are cast than number of registered voters. I think you are confusing this with the case where the count is off by one or two because the old ladies working the table occasionally fail to keep up recording the voters in the book.

    Any fraud at the polling places (like by the GOP in Delco) is due to the election officials themselves pushing buttons for voters who walk away without pushing the final “cast vote” button. Or, like the case a few years ago where the Delco GOP election judge sealed and turned in, but “forgot” to sign, the envelope containing the provisional ballots and the Delco GOP court judge decided toss out those ballots.
    There is really nothing to stop the machine operator from casting votes all day long, provided the election judges write down names in the books.

    But, if the election judges are going to commit fraud by allowing people to vote who aren’t who they say, then showing ID doesn’t mean a damn thing anyway.

  6. Steve says:

    This Gehret guy is freaking hilarious. I’m so happy to see Daylin Leech, the Clown Prince of Pennsylvania Democrats, finally draw an opponent who calls him out on his crazy talk. This Senate race is going to be a riot. I’m watching from Pittsburgh!

  7. Kathleen says:

    Chaka Fattah’s idea of how precious our votes are happen to be 180 degrees removed from what honest, patriotic voters perceive them to be. Me thinkest the Dems protest too much…..

  8. Matt Edelbrock says:

    http://www.bradblog.com/?p=9481

    Elected officials should legislate on facts not heresy.

    This study shows that a whopping 10 cases of voter fraud since 2000 would have been prevented under the new voter id laws in the whole United States. The new law potentially disenfranchises 22 million people. So, the new law may prevent 1 case of voter fraud in Pennsylvania.

    You know what’s more likely to swing an election … hundreds of thousands of disenfranchised voters. How is this Democratic?

    Why do conservatives continue to ignore facts and logic? Conservatives, please back up your statements with facts, that is why liberals don’t take you seriously. There is virtually no in person voter fraud problem (there are no facts or studies to back it up), but there will be a voter suppression problem.

  9. Sean Ryan says:

    In 1960 the presidential election was as close as the presidential election in Florida 2000. If only 1,000 votes out of 30 million are fraudulent then both of those elections end differently. Now let’s look at the race for the 8th district in 2008 where Patrick Murphy won by 1,500 votes. There were well over 200,000 votes cast and if there was only less than 1% voter fraud the race ends differently and bills like the ACA, TARP, and the stimulus may never have happened.
    If you want to ensure accurate elections then Voter ID is amust.

  10. Sean Ryan says:

    Wow you let 3 republicans comment. How bipartisan of you.

  11. BJ says:

    Anyone who thinks there is no voter fraud needs to go to Philadelphia on election day. Now if only we could get them to stop throwing our poll watchers out of the polling places, we might be able to cut down on the precincts where more votes are cast than there are registered voters!

  12. fightinggranny says:

    I cannot wait for this election in November!
    At least I have a fairer shot at having my vote count. Oh yes, you now need picture ID for the DR office. Guess you cannot go to the DR office either. Both sides should be embracing voter ID.

  13. PA DECLARATION OF RIGHTS says:

    CONSTITUTION OF THE
    COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

    Article 1
    DECLARATION OF RIGHTS

    Elections
    Section 5.

    Elections shall be free and equal; and no power, civil or military, shall at any time interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage.

    It is a sad day when a judge puts his party ahead of the Constitution he is sworn to uphold

  14. Steven says:

    How do you prove voter fraud in-person actually happens? You make a law to prevent it like this one, and then you see who tries to violate. See you in November.

  15. electedface says:

    Voter ID is a violation of the 15th amendment. This is Voter Suppression at its finest.

    Watch the video and sign the petition to end Voter Suppression.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9TjVsQa57c

  16. Matt Edelbrock says:

    So how do you know in-person voter fraud is happening, if you can’t prove it? Should our elected officials always govern on heresy?

    The Voter Assistance office fiasco deals with absentee ballots and is irrelevant here.The new voter id law does not address absentee voter fraud (which occurs more often), only in person voter fraud, which is extremely rare.

    Why are Republicans ignoring absentee voter fraud?

  17. Ryan says:

    I am curious if the Democrats think the retired Justice Stevens, the biggest liberal on the Supreme Court when he retired, who wrote an opinion upholding a similar law somehow supported “voter suppression.”

  18. Steven says:

    Just because it’s near impossible to prove because you hide it in city precincts where there’s no Republican judge to complain doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

    Plus, just two short years ago, an elected politician tried to engage in it (Voter Assistance Office)

  19. Matt Edelbrock says:

    Its not a complaint, its a fact. As a good conservative, I’m sure you will just ignore it.

  20. Steven says:

    You can go register your complaint that voter fraud doesn’t exist at Patrick Murphy’s Voter Assistance Office.

  21. RationalityEqualsTeaParty says:

    The alarmism of the left on this continues to be laughable. Especially when you consider the various ID laws in other states, especially our neighbor Ohio, where in 2006, the Democrats still miraculously won major victories despite the law.

  22. Matt Edelbrock says:

    Steven, no one is cheating, Democrat or Republican.That is the point. Why are Republicans trying to solve a problem (and wasting tax payer money) that doesn’t exist?

  23. Steven says:

    Sorry you guys can’t cheat as easily this time. Get out of court and go teach your legitimate voters how to get a free ID if they don’t have one. Maybe they can get them at the “Voter Assistance Office” from the old Patrick Murphy days.

  24. John P says:

    IF there was so much fraud going on why didn’t then Attorney General Corbert do any thing about it? Oh ya he was too busy hanging out in Penn State. Count them ZERO cases.

  25. Hey PoliticsPa, you omitted reactions from the following:

    A DEAD PERSON
    “It is extremely disappointing that the dead are being disenfranchised today. The challenges in obtaining ID are nearly insurmountable, given that we are, after all, dead; but the exclusion of zombies, who Republicans know reliably vote Democrat, just goes too far.”

    AN ILLEGAL ALIEN
    “No lo tengo un licencia de manejar de Pennsylvania. ¡Eso no es justo!”

    OWNER OF A LIVING ROOM VOTING PRECINCT IN PHILADELPHIA
    “Don’t you worry, Mister President. We got you covered.”

  26. Alex says:

    The Tea Party wins this round. But this disgusting attempt to supress democratic votes will not stand much longer. On to the Supreme Court

  27. David Diano says:

    I think Chairman Burn’s reaction is a sanitized version of “Those m*therf*ckers are not going to get away with this.” That was certainly my reaction to the news.

Comments are closed.