Pennsylvania Secretary of State Doesn't Know What's in Voter ID Law

Jul 31 2012 Published by under Featured News

The court challenge concerning Pennsylvania’s version of voter suppression gets curioser and curioser.  Last month, State officials stipulated in a statement  to the non-existence of in person voter fraud in Pennsylvania or any other state (my bold). The State of Pennsylvania agreed it would not offer any evidence that in person voter fraud has occurred in Pennsylvania and else where.  And this is the important one.  Nor will it “offer argument or evidence that in-person voter fraud is likely to occur in November 2012 in the absence of the Photo ID law.”

That stipulation acknowledges there is no need for the photo ID law.  It begs the question, if there was no in person voter fraud and the state did not expect voter fraud to occur during the November election, why was this law passed.

It’s also significant that the State officials acknowledge that they are also unaware of in person voter fraud in any other state.

It gets even better with today’s court testimony by Secretary of Commonwealth Carole Aichele.  She admitted in court that she doesn’t know what’s in the law. Aichele is supposed to implement Pennsylvania’s voter ID law. According to CBS:

At one point, when lawyers asked her about the details of the voter ID law, Aichele responded, “I don’t know what the law says.”

To be fair to Secretary Aichele, she isn’t the only one who doesn’t know what the law says.

Plaintiffs’ attorney David Gersch (of Arnold and Porter) says the Secretary is not the only one confused about what the law requires.

“The law is very technical — that’s another problem with it,” he tells KYW Newsraadio.   “Earlier in the trial we had testimony from lawyers who are advocates for poor people and homeless people trying to get identification, and those lawyers said they didn’t understand all apects of the law!” (CBS’ italics)

The Secretary also admitted that she doesn’t know how many voters will need a new photo ID.

Yet, without knowing what the law says or how many Pennsylvanians would need a new photo ID to preserve their constitutional right to vote, somehow the Secretary does know that 99% of voters have the correct ID.

If she doesn’t know what the law says, or how many people would need a new ID, how can she possibly know how many people have the right ID?

If a law is so confusing that the top official charged with implementing it can’t understand it, how does that bill get implemented?  If the law is so confusing that lawyers can’t understand it, how does the average citizen of Pennsylvania figure it out to assure that their constitutional right to vote is protected?

When a bill is passed to solve a problem that State officials acknowledge doesn’t exist, it means the bill was passed for a different reason – one that officials don’t want to admit publicly.  Since bills like this, by coincidence, tend to prevent people most likely to vote for the Democratic Party; the real reason for Pennsylvania’s law is pretty clear.  It’s about suppressing voting – not suppressing voter fraud.

Image from

Comments are off for this post