Viviette Applewhite, the 93 year-old who was one of the plaintiffs in the Pennsylvania voter ID case, received her ID card this week. Despite voting in practically every election since she became eligible, she didn’t have a driver’s license or Social Security card, and her birth certificate features a different name than the one on her other documents. But the state waived these impediments, which should have made her ineligible for a photo ID card, and provided her one anyway.
We’re supposed to believe that this is proof that Pennsylvania will make whatever effort necessary to get eligible voters the ID they need. But of course, this is just one high-profile case, out of as many as 750,000. In fact, during the last few days, Pennsylvania made it more difficult for eligible voters, not less. After Judge Robert Simpson pronounced himself confident that the state would get photo IDs to whoever needed them and make everyone in the state aware of the new requirements, Pennsylvania dropped plans to make it easier to obtain absentee ballots or register to vote.
On the same day a judge cleared the way for the state’s new voter identification law to take effect, the (Governor Tom) Corbett administration abandoned plans to allow voters to apply online for absentee ballots for the November election and to register online to vote.
A spokesman for the Department of State said county elections officials told the agency that implementing the new online initiatives as well as voter ID requirements was too much to handle less than three months before the election.
This is really rich. The voter ID requirements are sure to cause a total mess, with hundreds of thousands of voters scrambling to obtain the necessary documents. But a WEBSITE tips the scales into being too much to handle? I have an idea for clearing out the workload, you could simply drop the voter ID requirement, which Pennsylvania admitted during that court case would not lead to any in-person voter fraud, which has never happened in the state’s history.
Keep in mind that Pennsylvania already makes it tough on voters. There are no early voting opportunities, and it has one of the most restrictive absentee ballot rules in the nation. Voters requesting an absentee ballot because of difficulty getting to the polls from sickness or disability, or a planned trip out of town, must submit proof, in the form of a doctor’s note or trip itinerary.
Now they’ve included this voter ID law, without making the process of registration or absentee balloting any easier. This is quite a scandal.