Under Pennsylvania’s harsh new voter ID law, as many as 20 percent of voters in the state lack the photo IDs required to cast a vote, an estimated 1,636,168. In Philadelphia alone, however, 437,237 people, a whopping 43 percent of the voting population, may be ineligible to vote under the law, according to The Philadelphia City Paper.
Furthermore, The Nation reports that there is a major gap between the law’s requirements and people’s knowledge of what they need to vote. According to one study (.pdf), “only 34 percent of registered voters are aware of the law but 98 percent of registered voters believe they have the right ID. That’s a huge gap between perception and reality with regards to the law.”
The controversial voter ID law is being challenged in court today to determine whether the law requiring photo ID for every voter violates the state’s constitution. The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg will hear a suit brought by 93-year-old Viviette Applewhite in conjunction with the NAACP and the ACLU.
Applewhite, a great-grandmother who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s, has worked as a hotel maid for most of her adult life. She has never had a driver’s license. Her purse was stolen four years ago along with her only copy of her Social Security card. She was adopted as a child and has been married twice. As a result, she does not have the necessary documentation to acquire a state-sanctioned voter ID card and if the law is upheld, Applewhite will not be able to vote in a presidential election for the first time since 1960, when she pulled the lever to vote for John F. Kennedy.
Pennsylvania Republicans, including Gov. Tom Corbett, insist that the new laws are necessary to prevent voter fraud. However, recent developments would seem to contradict that assertion.
In June, Republican House Leader Mike Turzai told a group of voters the real reason Republicans are so anxious to pass the voter ID law is because the statute “is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania” because it disenfranchises two traditionally Democratic constituencies, the poor and ethnic minorities. Also, the state has admitted in court filings that it has not investigated or prosecuted a single vote fraud case.
In response to widespread outcry over the obviousness of the Republicans’ efforts to suppress Democratic voter turnout, the state government has created a backup ID program. Sadly, the individuals tasked with running the outreach and education effort are all Republican operatives with ties to Gov. Corbett and the Romney campaign.
The Pennsylvania law is similar in concept to laws passed by Republicans in other states like Texas, South Carolina, Georgia and Missouri, many of which are also tied up in court. Former President Clinton said the Republican efforts at vote suppression are unlike anything he has ever seen.
“There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today,” he said.
In addition to the trial today, Pennsylvania is currently being investigated by the Department of Justice. Attorney General Eric Holder has requested voter rolls, registration records and other documents to determine whether the state has violated Section Two of the Voting Rights Act, which was passed in 1965 to ensure voting rights protection for racial and other minorities.
Here are 7 wild, bizarre and pathetic moments from Trump’s ‘campaign launch’
On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump held a rally that was billed as the official launch his re-election campaign — though he has never really stopped holding campaign rallies.
As expected, the president ranted, lied, and engaged in the raucous attacks that are central to his connection with Republican voters. Some of it was actually just sad, such as his continued obsession with Hillary Clinton.
Here are seven of the wildest, disturbing and pathetic moments from the rally:
1. He said Democrats "want to destroy our country as we know it."
Trump casually accuses Democrats of "want[ing] to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it." pic.twitter.com/4K79KlbEeR
British PM candidates clash over Brexit as Boris Johnson skips debate
Candidates to become Britain's next prime minister clashed over Brexit strategy at their first debate on Sunday but the frontrunner, Boris Johnson, dodged the confrontation.
The 90-minute debate on Channel 4 featured the five remaining candidates and an empty podium for Johnson, the gaffe-prone former foreign secretary and former mayor of London.
In sometimes ill-tempered exchanges, four of the five candidates said they would seek to renegotiate the draft Brexit divorce deal agreed with Brussels even though EU leaders have repeatedly ruled this out.
Michael Cohen ordered back to Congress on March 6
President Donald Trump's so-called "fixer" is being asked to return to Congress for more questioning on March 6.
Outside of the closed-door committee hearing Thursday, Cohen said that the House Intelligence Committee is seeking further information, according to Washington Examiner writer Byron York.
Michael Cohen finished closed-door testimony before House Intel Committee, says he's coming back for another session March 6. Again: No reason for secrecy. Transcripts should be released ASAP.
— Byron York (@ByronYork) February 28, 2019