At a time when voter ID laws in 30 states are coming under intense fire from the liberal media, the Obama administration and civil rights leaders, one of the strongest cases anywhere was offered for voter identification by the lone Republican on the three-member panel overseeing elections in Philadelphia.
Wednesday, City Commissioner Al Schmidt unveiled a 27 page report that his office had commissioned entitled ‚??Voting Irregularities in Philadelphia County, 2012 Primary Election.‚?Ě The report, which focused on cases in 15 of the city‚??s 1,687 election districts, found cases of double voting, voter impersonation, voting by non-citizens, and 23 cases of people who were unregistered to vote but nonetheless permitted to do so.
Almost as soon as the 40-year-old Schmidt released the report at a news conference, his two fellow commissioners — both Democrats — denounced its findings. Insisting that its findings did not document a problem with voting city-wise, Commission Chairman Stephanie Singer branded the report a ‚??stunt.‚?Ě
‚??I just told folks something that they would not have heard otherwise,‚?Ě Schmidt told Human Events shortly after his news conference.
The Republican commissioner insisted that his report of voter irregularity in Philadelphia was not initiated to make a case for the Keystone State‚??s voter ID law, which requires voters to present a valid photo identification to receive the ballot. Democrats — including Singer — and numerous liberal outlets have called for legal action to thwart implementation of the law. The American Civil Liberties Union recently filed a lawsuit, claiming that Pennsylvania‚??s law violates the state constitution by depriving certain citizens of their right to vote.
‚??The courts should listen and issue an injunction that prevents the enforcement of this law before the November election,‚?Ě said an editorial from the Washington Post last week.
AUDIO: Listen to Managing Editor Adam Tragone’s interview with Mr. Schmidt‚??
Schmidt, who holds a doctorate in political history and is a performance auditor by trade, was elected to the minority spot on the commission last fall as a reformer. Among those who backed him over the candidate of Philadelphia‚??s GOP establishment was Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). Asked if he would see that voter ID is enforced, Schmidt replied to us without hesitation: ‚??It‚??s the law. Our office will be letting people know that it‚??s the law, and we will see that every vote is counted and every vote counts in an honest election. That means to do what we can to see that people who lack a photo ID obtain the proper identification and can vote. And in an urban setting, that‚??s impressive.‚?Ě
The report by Schmidt‚??s office on voter irregularities makes clear that ‚??due to the size of the electorate (1,029,307 registered voters in Philadelphia County) and the volume of documentation associated with the election (3,374 Poll Books; 3,467 Voting Machine Tapes; and 1,687 Clerk Books, etc.), we did not set out to quantify the magnitude of voting irregularities that occurred, but rather to analyze them in detail.
‚??Nevertheless, we identified hundreds of cases of voting irregularities (in select precincts) that warrant further investigation.”
Among the more striking cases of fraud — or at the least, negligence by election officials — was that of ‚??150 Voter Slips citywide form the 2012 primary, twenty-three of these Voter Slips came from individuals who were not registered to vote at the time of the election but voted on the Voting Machine.‚?Ě
The report also includes documentation and reports of votes by members of one party incorrectly cast in the other. Since these votes were cast on machines, the report concludes, ‚??they were included in the Certified Election Results, thus impacting the vote totals for multiple races throughout Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.‚?Ě
In one of the most widely reported, and clearly egregious, stories out of the report on voter impersonation, a man named ‚??Joseph Cheeseboro‚?Ě was registered to vote in Oct. 1990 on an address in South Philadelphia that is now a vacant lot. In November 2003, ‚??Joseph J. Cheeseborough‚?Ě was registered to vote from a different address that is actually a 7-11 store. The signatures on the applications of 1990 and 2003 are ‚??different in both handwriting and spelling,‚?Ě thus making Mr. Cheeseboro — or Cheeseborough — a victim of voter impersonation.
If the reaction from Democrats such as Stephanie Singer are any sign of things to come, what is fast becoming known as the ‚??Schmidt Report‚?Ě may well be a topic of controversy for weeks and months to come. And yet, it may also lead to serious reforms and stronger enforcement in honest voting that will be studied and replicated nationwide.
For his part, Al Schmidt stands by what was in his report. As to the charges of selective investigation, he told us, ‚??Every vote that is irregular affects the outcome. If you don‚??t look for something, you don‚??t find it. We found voter fraud — unequivocally.‚?Ě