Here we go again.
In February, state Republicans offered a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist by requiring photo identification at the voting booth, claiming it was necessary to stop voter fraud, which isn’t happening. Governor Rendell did the right thing by promptly squashing that noxious legislation.
Yesterday the House of Representatives passed legislation to require proof of citizenship at the polls. Now, think about that. Before you get to the polls, you have to register. And in order to register, what do you need? Say it together- citizenship.
Because this bill requires proof of citizenship, not just identification, a driver’s license would not do the trick since documented immigrants and, in some states, undocumented immigrants can get driver’s licenses. So you’ll need to take your passport, which only 27% of Americans have (and I’m in the 73% who do not have a passport), or your birth certificate to vote.
Not surprisingly, this legislation, if passed by the Senate and signed by the president, would have the greatest impact on the elderly, the poor, and minorities, much like the state legislation earlier this year. Even less surprising, the bill passed on a party line vote with the Rs in favor and the Ds against.
Oh, and while we’re ticking off all of the predictables in this, supporters managed to tie in illegal immigration to their cause.
“Those who are in this country illegally want the same rights as United States citizens without obeying the laws of our land,” Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, a Florida Republican, said during the House debate. “We should not let these criminals defraud our election system by allowing them to vote.”
Come on, Congresswoman. That’s the best you can do? Couldn’t you find a way to tie in terrorists from France who are in same-sex relationships? The list of scapegoats is much too long to just stop at illegal immigrants.
Reuters reporter Donna Smith failed miserably in not questioning Rep. Brown-Waite on where she has the evidence that undocumented immigrants- or documented immigrants, for that matter- are trying to fraudulently vote.
America has a proud tradition of opening up the franchise to new groups, notably women and blacks, who were once denied it. It is disgraceful that, for partisan political reasons, some people are trying to reverse the tide, and standing in the way of people who have every right to vote.
NY Times editorial (subscription required): Keep away the vote
Thankfully, this has little chance of passing the Senate.
Andy in H-burg