Pennsylvania

What the PA Photo ID Ruling Means for the November 2012 Election – Story and Video

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson, a Republican, enjoined just a part of the law, but it effectively strikes down the most onerous provision of it — but only for this November’s Presidential election. There were also a number of troubling caveats with what he left in place, rather than striking down the entire statute as the petitioners had sought.

Tonight, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow also discussed the confusion likely to be brought by the state’s continuing ad campaign along with the other vagueries allowed to continue by Judge Simpson’s ruling today…

She correctly notes that the effect could be that voters are misled into believing that they should stay away from the polls if they do not have the type of ID previously required under the law this year, as advertised in the state’s “education” campaign. In short, she argues, Republicans are likely to get the many “benefits” of the law (disenfranchisement of Democratic-leaning voters), even with the most onerous elements of it barred for now.

Maddow also discussed similar confusion, purposely imposed by Republicans in Mississippi, concerning their Photo ID initiative, as well as some of the latest details in the GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal.

To read the latest about the shortfalls of the judge’s decision in PA, please click here.

To watch the complete Rachel Maddow video GOP war on voting succeeds despite legal failures, please click hereThe section on PA starts at about 4:22.

Voter Protection or Voter Suppression? 8min – VIDEO

This video looks at the voter protection bills that have
been proposed in over 40 states. On the surface these
laws seem logical, but as we dig into the reasoning and
people who created them, we see that they are being
pushed in the name of voter suppression.

And “All roads lead to ALEC”.

To watch this very informative video, please click here

The charts shown in this video are shown in our photo gallery.

Judge Won’t Block Pennsylvania’s Voter ID Law

I wonder if Judge Robert Simpson is among those judges who have been paid to attend right wing “seminars”–Trips For Judges.  Watch for a future report on www.vltp.net

A state judge on Wednesday refused to block Pennsylvania’s controversial voter ID law. Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson’s 70-page order ruled that opponents of the law failed to establish “that disenfranchisement was immediate or inevitable.”

Simpson did not rule on the case’s merits, only on whether it could be enjoined. Opponents of the law are expected to appeal to the state’s Supreme Court.

Simpson ruled that the law “does not expressly disenfranchise or burden any qualified elector or group of electors. The statute simply gives poll workers another tool to verify that the person voting is who they claim to be.”

To read the entire article about this miscarriage of justice, please click here

New ID Laws, More Voter Suppression. Will Obama Campaign Engage?

http://youtu.be/YnjJBTkXEIc  (click on this link to watch this video on the VLTPVideoChannel)

This is a composite of successive segments of the Rachel
Maddow Show on MSNBC 8/10/12

(1)  New ID laws, Purges, Reduced Access Advance GOP
War on Voting

Rachel Maddow reports on new Republican-set obstacles
to voting around the country, from Voter ID laws in
Pennsylvania, to voter purges in Iowa, to reduced voting
access in Democratic counties in Ohio

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/vp/48621094#48621094

(2)  Will Obama Campaign Engage Ohio Voting Access
Battle?

Ted Strickland, former Ohio Governor, co-chairman of
President Obama’s re-election campaign, talks with Rachel
Maddow about the Obama campaign’s reaction to the
Republican effort to make voting more difficult in 2012
and whether the Obama campaign plans to take action
against the new partisan voting access disparities in Ohio,

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/vp/48621160#48621160

Suppressing Votes By Law–Bill Moyers

this post jumps right in to the middle of a conversation regarding voter suppression and Photo ID laws.

KEESHA GASKINS: Again, our research shows us that African American voters, Latino voters, voters over 65, young people 18 to 24 are all in populations that lack this type of ID at rates well beyond the 11 percent of the general population.

BILL MOYERS: You have some startling statistics on your website. Of the states with the highest Hispanic population growth, seven have passed restrictive voting laws. Of the ten states with the highest black turnout, five have passed restrictive voting laws. Of the nine states covered by the Voting Rights Act, six passed restrictive voting laws.

You call it in your report the first rollback in voting rights since the Jim Crow era.

KEESHA GASKINS: Yes, and it is. I mean, when you look at the laws that were passed between 1865 and 1967, the laws that could be ascribed to, sort of, voting and voting rights, depending on how you count, were about 29 laws. In the last 18 months, 23 laws have passed in this country, in comparison between 18 months and that entire period. There has been a concerted effort to limit access to the polls during this period. And this is unprecedented since that time.

BILL MOYERS: Do you think that these efforts to select out certain voters, to discriminate against certain voters that one party or another might not like anything to do with race?

KEESHA GASKINS: It has to do with race because it’s clearly affecting voters of color in this country. The Department of Justice identified that, and pursuant to the Voting Rights Act said the laws in Texas, the laws in South Carolina were unfairly discriminatory. And so, whether or not it was the intention of those legislators to do so, the fact is these laws disproportionately impact voters based on race.

There is so much more to be read in this article, or you can watch the embedded video.  All you have to do is click here

“I Don’t Know What The Photo ID Law Says”

Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Carole Aichele, testifying Tuesday during a state trial on the state’s controversial voter ID law, said she wasn’t sure about the details of the law, but stood by her unsupported claim that 99 percent of voters had valid identification.

…Aichele also couldn’t provide any evidence that 99 percent of voters already have a valid form of ID, as the state has claimed. CBS reported that when lawyers cited testimony from a Department of State official calling the number likely inaccurate, Aichele responded “I disagree.”

Aichele is a Republican. Her husband is Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s chief of staff. Corbett was recently forced to admit that he had no clue what type of ID was now required to vote under the new law he recently signed.

To read more about the know-nothings who are suppressing voters without knowing how or why, please click here

House Republicans Perpetuate Voter Fraud Myth, Fine With Disenfranchising Voters

“House Republicans criticized the Justice Department for challenging voter ID laws. The critical lawmakers believe that DOJ is acting in a partisan manner and that DOJ’s actions show that the Obama Administration is more concerned with winning in November than protecting against election fraud.”

That’s correct folks, Voter Suppression is just fine with Republicans in Washington.  But, of course it is.  ALEC Alumni Messrs. Boehner and Cantor are in charge.  And what Republican is looking forward to a visit from the “muscle” of the Cabal–a Tea Party challenger in the next primary.

But that’s just my opinion and I could be wrong. Please click here to read the extent to which the radical right will go to win this next Battle of the War for Control of the Government*–disenfranchise those who would stand in their way at the polls.  Prevent the Justice Department from doing it’s job.  What else is a House Republican to do?

*engaging Organized Labor early and get them to spend all of their money fighting for survival in WI, MI, OH, and IN, was the first skirmish of the war.

Pennsylvania Act 13 Overturned by Supreme Court, Originally an ALEC Model Bill

On July 26, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled PA Act 13 unconstitutional. The bill would have stripped away local zoning laws, eliminated the legal concept of a Home Rule Charter, limited private property rights, and in the process, completely disempowered town, city, municipal and county governments, particularly when it comes to shale gas development.

To read the Court’s Decision, please click here.

Where could the idea for such a bill come from in the first place? Rosenfeld pointed to the oil and gas industry in his piece.

That’s half of the answer. Pennsylvania is the epicenter of the ongoing fracking boom in the United States, and by and large, is a state seemingly bought off by the oil and gas industry.

The other half of the question left unanswered, though, is who do oil and gas industry lobbyists feed anti-democratic, state-level legislation to?

The answer, in a word: ALEC.  PA Act 13, Originally an ALEC Model Bill 

To read this excellent reporting that will answer a lot of questions about fracking laws around the country, please click here


Pennsylvania: Cyber charter schools aren’t working — so let’s expand them!

There’s an interesting and worthwhile debate over whether we should be expanding alternative, public-funded charter schools; some, like the Kipp Academies, are clearly successful, although we can argue about the extent of that success. Others have been flat-out scams. Then we have the case of cyber charter schools, which receive public tax dollars to educate children over the Internet, and which seem to be especially popular in Pennsylvania.

What could possibly go wrong with poorly supervised, taxpayer-funded online learning, right? Especially in such an on-the-ball state as this one.

“In an April 2011 study (PDF), the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University reviewed the academic performance in Pennsylvania’s charter schools.  Virtual-school operators have been aggressively expanding in the state for more than a decade, making it a good place for a study; around 18,700 of the state’s 61,770 charter school students were enrolled in online schools. The results weren’t promising.

The virtual-school students started out with higher test scores than their counterparts in regular charters. But according to the study, they ended up with learning gains that were “significantly worse” than kids in traditional charters and public schools. Says CREDO research manager Devora Davis, “What we can say right now is that whatever they’re doing in Pennsylvania is definitely not working and should not be replicated.

To read more about the expansion of virtual schools in PA, please click here

Chris Hayes On How The Republicans Intend To Prevent Millions From Voting

After one of the most powerful and courageous social movements in American history, one which took the lives of at least 40 people, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, LBJ famously signed the voting rights act in 1965 ending these practices.

“Wherever, by clear and objective standards, states and counties are using regulations, or laws, or tests to deny the right to vote, then they will be struck down. If it is clear that State officials still intend to discriminate, then Federal examiners will be sent in to register all eligible voters. When the prospect of discrimination is gone, the examiners will be immediately withdrawn. And, under this act, if any county anywhere in this Nation does not want Federal intervention it need only open its polling places to all of its people.”

It wasn’t until the passage of the Voting Rights Act, and the many amendments to it over the years that black people in the South and in some places outside the South could actually exercise their right to be full participating citizens in American democracy.

To read this entire article, a treatise on voting rights and the efforts to suppress them, please click hereThe article includes an embedded video.  If you prefer to watch the video and not read the entire report, it is posted to the VLTPVideoChannel, which you can access by clicking here