Update (below): Ranking House Dem vows to help
Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s “Mad Money,” revealed Tuesday that the Republican Party’s voter suppression efforts will prevent his own father, a veteran, from casting a ballot this fall in Pennsylvania.
“I have a problem,” Cramer said on Twitter Tuesday morning. “My dad, a vet, won’t be allowed to vote in Pa. because he does not drive, he is elderly, and can’t prove his citizenship.”
That would mean Cramer’s father is one of nearly 760,000 voters, or about 9 percent of Pennsylvanians who regularly participate in elections, who the state said does not carry a state-issued photo identification. Despite that alarming statistic, a Republican Pennsylvania judge approved the law last month, saying that voters still have time to obtain their ID cards.
The state’s House majority leader, Republican Rep. Mike Turzai, bragged recently that restricting the vote to people who have photo identification is “gonna help Governor Romney win.” That’s precisely the case Democrats and civil rights groups tried to make in arguing against the law, but the judge insisted the law does not discriminate across partisan lines and therefore addresses a legitimate concern, even though there’s been no voter fraud allegations in the state recently.
Voter ID laws have been demonstrated to drive down the number of votes (PDF) cast for Democrats by minorities, students, the poor and the elderly, all of whom are less likely to carry a photo ID than other groups. The Brennan Center says that voter ID laws could block more than 5 million voters this fall — a number far larger than the margin of victory in the last three presidential elections.
Update: Ranking House Dem vows to help
The ranking Democrat on the Committee on House Administration, Rep. Bob Brady (D-PA), said Tuesday that he would personally assist Cramer’s father in obtaining the transportation and documentation required to vote in this fall’s elections.
“This is a travesty,” he wrote on Twitter, promising to ensure “that your dad gets the necessary ID and transportation to vote.”
While it’s not quite clear whether the congressman would actually be able to help the elder Cramer obtain a voter ID, a Democratic aide to the Committee on House Administration told Raw Story that they may be able to find “supporting documents” that prove his citizenship, although they haven’t begun the search process yet.
Photo: Flickr user Tulane Public Relations, creative commons licensed.