August 26, 2011

Response to PA SoC photo ID stance

Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele: Photo ID protects integrity of every vote.

Text of PA SoC Aichele's August 23, 2011, press release with comments in red by Madeline Rawley:

Lancaster – Requiring Pennsylvania voters to provide photo identification will protect the right of every legal voter to have their vote carry the weight it should, Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele said today.

Speaking to the 2011 Pennsylvania County Election Officials Conference in Lancaster, Aichele said requiring voters to provide photo identification will make it harder to commit voter fraud in Pennsylvania.

“My duty, and yours, is to protect the integrity of every vote,” said Aichele, Pennsylvania’s chief election official, explaining the Corbett Administration’s support for the photo ID concept. “We must insure every citizen entitled to vote can do so, but also prevent anyone not entitled to this right from diluting legal voters’ ballots, by casting illegal votes.”

Aichele said voter turnout in states such as Georgia, with strict photo ID laws upheld by the courts, has increased across racial, ethnic and socio-economic lines.* In the 2008 election! Not evidence for typical election.

She noted arrests in the past three years of workers for the group known as ACORN on federal election fraud charges in Pittsburgh, and the submission of 8,000 fraudulent ACORN-collected voter registration forms in Philadelphia, as evidence voter fraud is an issue in Pennsylvania.* This is voter registration fraud, which the PHOTO ID bill could not stop.

Aichele also pointed to a 1994 state Senate election in Philadelphia as a reason the Corbett Administration supports additional voter safeguards for absentee ballots. PHOTO ID BILL COULD NOT PREVENT THIS:
“A federal judge found absentee-ballot fraud so massive in this election, he actually overturned the results, and awarded the seat to the losing candidate,” Aichele said. “Fraud in this case effectively disenfranchised every voter in that district.”

A Department of State analysis shows 99 percent of eligible voters already have an acceptable photo ID, and providing free photo IDs to every other eligible voter, should they all request one, would cost just over $1 million.* No source for this number given. House Republican Appropriations Committee report says: “Data provided by PennDOT indicates that only 3.9% of the voting population does not hold a state-issued ID. Applying that number to all registered voters (8,166,393 as of April 11) to the cost to produce a photo ID ($13.50) totals $4,315,417. Currently 82.4% of the adult population in Pennsylvania are registered voters.

“Today, you must show a photo ID to cash a check, board a plane, and check into a hotel,” Aichele said. “Requiring a photo ID for something as important as voting will not burden anyone, but will protect the rights of legal voters in Pennsylvania.”* It does burden some seniors who no longer drive and do not have a license, persons with disabilities, students, urban people who have no need for a license, married women who have changed their name on their drivers’ licenses but not their voter registration etc.

August 12, 2011

PA voting machines to be re-examined

In early 2006 several groups petitioned the PA Secretary of the Commonwealth to re-examine our electronic voting machines. In Bucks County members of the Coalition for Voting Integrity asked for re-examination of the Danaher. In Chester County it was the ES&S iVotronic. SoC Pedro Cortés denied the requests.

Voter Action describes what happened next: "In August 2006, a group of Pennsylvania voters filed a lawsuit [Banfield v. Cortés] in Pennsylvania state court challenging the use of electronic voting machines on the grounds that it violated the state election code and the state constitution’s guarantee of the right to vote." Among other things, the suit cited the refusal to re-examine the voting machines.

SoC Cortés objected to the re-examination requests but the PA Commonwealth Court ruled unanimously in favor of the plaintiffs. In July 2011 the current Secretary of the Commonwealth, Carol Aichele, communicated her intention to conduct re-examinations of voting machines requested by three groups in 2006, including the Coalition for Voting Integrity in Bucks and Chester Counties. The petitioners will have the opportunity to observe the re-examinations.

Update: On September 14, 2011, SoC Aichele agreed to honor a request for re-examination of the remaining DREs as well--the Sequoia AVC Advantage, Sequoia Edge, and Hart Intercivic eSlate.