Voter Suppression Goes National

Pennsylvania is one of the few states that stopped the voter suppressing photo id law. I was part of this suit in 2013 and testified before the PA Commonwealth Court on what I had observed.  The law was overturned in 2014. We successfully made sure that women, the poor, the elderly, and people of color had an equal chance to cast their ballot here in our state.

Yet the argument of voter fraud still continues and has now reached national proportions with 45’s new federal voting commission (aka, the “Advisory Commission on Election Integrity”); many states, including Pennsylvania, have said this commission’s call for the detailed voting records of more than 200 million people across the country is “unwarranted” and is fraught with privacy issues.

What this commission is NOT looking at are the aging electronic voting machines, many of which have no paper trail to verify one’s vote.  Here in Pennsylvania, 80% of voters voted on such machines in the 2016 Presidential election.  And when a recount was requested, there was nothing available to verify the count other than to reread the same aggregated vote count on the electronic machine chips. As the Morning Call in Allentown, PA reported in December 2016,

These paperless digital voting machines, used by roughly 1 in 5 U.S. voters last month, present one of the most glaring dangers to the security of the rickety, underfunded U.S. election system. Like many electronic voting machines, they are vulnerable to hacking. But other machines typically leave a paper trail that could be manually checked. The paperless digital machines open the door to potential election rigging that might not ever be detected.

The machines and voter suppression, not voter fraud, are the problems to be solved.

There is almost no voter fraud — only four cases of voter fraud were found nationwide last fall. In contrast, a study conducted by researchers at the University of California San Diego and at Bucknell University found that strict voter id laws do, in fact, suppress votes among minority communities and skew elections toward the political right.

For more about this conflict between so-called voter fraud and the real effect of voter suppression, check out Nel’s New Day blog entitled Voter Suppression Goes National.

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