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The Pennsylvania Progressive

Chaos at the PennDOT

by: thirdandstate

Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 10:11:22 AM EDT

(Charging for an ID makes this a poll tax. - promoted by John Morgan)

By Sharon Ward, Third and State

Now that Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson has given the green light to Pennsylvania's strictest in-the-nation Voter ID Law, tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians will have to make their way to their local PennDOT office to get a photo ID. We can tell you, it won't be easy.

This summer, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center recruited volunteers to visit PennDOT offices across the Commonwealth and tell us about their experiences trying to obtain free photo ID under the new law. The results of that survey are in our new report, Pennsylvania's Identity Crisis: Rushed Implementation of Voter ID Law Puts Voting Rights at Risk.

Volunteers visited 43 PennDOT centers in 27 counties across the commonwealth, representing three-quarters of the state's population. They completed a survey that looked at very simple things: whether there was signage, if forms were available, if there was information that the IDs could be available for free, if volunteers got accurate information. We were surprised just how difficult it was for our volunteers to get the right information and the right forms - and they knew exactly what to ask for. 

The report finds that voters are likely to be frustrated in their attempts to secure a free ID from PennDOT. Some volunteers found the offices weren't open the first time they visited and they had to return another time. There was no signage and limited information in half the sites, and the forms needed to secure a free ID were not available most of the time. In almost half the cases, voters received information that proved to be incomplete or inaccurate from staff at the centers. Problems were as likely to occur in Franklin and Luzerne counties as in Philadelphia or Allegheny County.

Providing a free ID to anyone who needs it is one of the key constitutional tests of the validity of a state's voter ID law, and we found Pennsylvania is not making the grade. Most volunteers were not told they could have an ID for free, and in 30% of the visits, they were told incorrectly they had to pay.

Few Informed that Voter ID Could Be Obtained at No Cost

We report on a man who took 16 people from his church to the PennDOT at 8th and Arch Street in Philadelphia, where they were told incorrectly they had to pay for a photo ID. Twelve of the 16 didn't have the money with them and left empty-handed.  

The Department of State is rolling out a new Commonwealth ID next week, which may end up creating more problems than solutions. 

The bottom line is that the Commonwealth isn't ready to get an ID to everyone who needs it for the November election, and unless we put on the brakes, people will be disenfranchised. They sure ain't making it easy. 

thirdandstate :: Chaos at the PennDOT
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How I know the judge lied! (0.00 / 0)
The PA Constitution, apart from the poll tax issues of the federal constitution, say that there is to be ONE and ONLY ONE method for the registration of electors (voters) in the Commonwealth of my count, the current system has at least 4 and possibly 5, depending on your status and what ID you already happen to have or already paid for in order to vote and have your vote counted...I suppose that will be the next BULLSHIT thing that they try to do and say well, voting and having your vote count are 2 separate things, which is total HORSE CRAP!  

SO the law violates both the PA & US Constitutions and yet, the judge totally lied and walked through the obvious legal prohibition and still bought the Republican line, even when they admitted NO cases of voter fraud were found!  You basically just admitted you are RIGGING THE VOTE! Anyone who wants to confront me on that is gonna get their ass handed to them word on the spot!  

They have been conducting webinars to try and educate community agencies to get their people to make sure they are saying the right things when they go for an ID and it is totally crazy  what you have to still provide and go through and it is a total SCAM!  It is a total RIG JOB!  VOTING IS WHAT MAKES OUR COMMUNITIES AND COUNTRY RUN!  When you mess with that by making it harder, not easier to make sure that people, ALL PEOPLE vote, you are destroying the community and the country, no matter what your politics and views are throwing your own freedom, your own liberty, your own good values and morals down the drain and don't pretend like you are trying to do people a good deed by this nonsense!  It is a LIE! It is a CRIME!  It is WRONG!  

Chaos... (0.00 / 0)
Those who support this law contend that businesses in the private sector (banks, credit card companies, etc.) already require photo ID for one to open an account.
They further argue (including Judge Simpson) that voter ID "will prevent fraud" at the polls.
These are both bogus arguments.
Many of our citizens who regularly vote have neither bank accounts or credit cards, either because they are poor or see no need for them which is their right.
Historically, where there has been fraud at the polls it was perpetrated not by bogus voters but rather by dishonest polling officials and/or corrupt local politicians.
Beyond these immediate issues however, there is the real risk of setting down a dangerous precedent that might encourage future zealous politicians to further expand this government-mandated photo ID far beyond our polling places and out into the streets of our towns and cities.
Given this, it is not at all implausible that you and I might see a day when we are stopped on the street by a member of a police force or other badged official who will
demand to see our papers.
It was Lyndon Johnson who once said "Power is where power goes" and no man ever knew the workings of government and its potential for unbridled authority and raw power better than did he.
Matt Thomas


The private sector can do (0.00 / 0)
whatever it wants, the constitutional Bill of Rights doesn't cover them, just covers what government cannot do.   If they insist on an ID I can choose not to do business with them.

If the government insists on an ID to vote and I cannot vote I can't go elsewhere, there is irreparable harm done.  The argument is a bogus one because it is a false analogy.  You cannot compare having an ID to do business with having to have an ID to vote.  Buying something or doing business is NOT a fundamental constitutional right.

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