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Challenge to Pennsylvania voter ID law challenged

Court hearings on a legal challenge to Pennsylvania‚??s new voter ID law are under way.¬† According to a Reuters report, the judge expects another week of trial, followed by escalation to a higher court after he issues his decision.¬† A separate investigation by the Justice Department ‚?? which under Attorney General Eric Holder has attacked every voter ID law and ballot integrity program, with decidedly mixed results ‚?? is also in progress, seeking to determine if the law will ‚??disproportionately‚?Ě affect minority voters.

For those unfamiliar with how the defenders of vote fraud play their games, one of the primary techniques involves asserting that a common-sense voter ID law would disproportionately affect certain groups, regardless of whether the effect would be demonstrably unreasonable or malevolent.¬† In other words, if a larger proportion of Hispanic or black voters do not currently possess a suitable ID card, such as a driver‚??s license, then the requirements will be attacked by the Justice Department, even if the state offers a free ID card to everyone who needs it.

The suit against Pennsylvania‚??s law is being pressed with specific individuals, including plaintiff Vivian Applewhite.¬† She‚??s 92 years old, and has never held a driver‚??s license.¬† Her problem with obtaining one of the new voter ID cards is that she would be required to present a birth certificate or Social Security card.¬† Both copies of the former were destroyed in two separate house fires, while her Social Security card was stolen along with her purse.¬† She is evidently having trouble replacing these documents because her name has been changed twice through marriage.

Another individual named in the ACLU complaint is a transgendered man named Asher Schor, who is afraid that he won‚??t be able to vote, because his driver‚??s license and passport still show him as a woman.

Welcome to the bizarre wonderland of America‚??s archaic, fraud-prone electoral system, in which the rest of us are expected to put up with unlimited shenanigans at the polls because of the most extreme hard-luck cases, combined with the vague and unsupportable assertion that every effort to make voting as secure as the purchase of beer is part of a racist campaign to ‚??disenfranchise‚?Ě minorities.

Of the two cases mentioned above, the transgendered person is the most ludicrous.¬† Why wouldn‚??t someone whose appearance have undergone such radical changes be expected to update his driver‚??s license and passport photos?¬† What if he gets pulled over for a traffic violation?¬† And why couldn‚??t he simply moot those issues by getting a new photo ID card?

As attorney Justin Danhof, general counsel for the National Center for Public Policy research, observed, ‚??If this extreme example – that has yet to be proven as a problem – is one of the the best arguments against Pennsylvania’s voter ID law the ACLU can muster, its case should be thrown out in two minutes.¬† Transgender surgery and hormone therapy can cost tens of thousands of dollars. ¬†Is the ACLU really saying that Schor cannot afford to renew his Pennsylvania driver’s license to update his photo at¬†a cost of $29.50?‚?Ě

As for Applewhite, her circumstances are unfortunate, but it‚??s absurd to strike down a fair and reasonable law because a remarkable series of disasters has stripped her of the identification most Americans readily possess.¬† Instead of using her as a prop to attack Pennsylvania‚??s voter ID law, why isn‚??t the ACLU productively using its resources to help her replace the missing paperwork, which she needs for many purposes other than voting?¬† Why hasn‚??t our titanic multi-trillion-dollar government already stepped forward to get her a new Social Security card?

Are we supposed to believe there is absolutely no way a person can obtain a suitable replacement for a birth certificate that gets completely destroyed in a fire?¬† As a matter of fact, the Philadelphia Inquirer says that ‚??despite paying a fee to obtain a birth certificate she has never received one from the Commonwealth.‚?̬† Why on Earth isn‚??t the state government being criticized or sued for that, instead of staging a court case against one of the many official functions that require presentation of the birth certificate they have failed to replace?

It‚??s a good thing that common sense is completely absent from the war against voter ID, because if simple logic were employed to extend the arguments being made against the Pennsylvania law, two-thirds of the federal and state governments would come crashing down in flames.¬† Shall we begin going through the books and striking down every law that burdens citizens with the necessity of proving their identity?¬† How about every law that ‚??disproportionately‚?Ě affects any race, sex, or age group?¬† One of the acceptable forms of photo ID for voting in Pennsylvania is a student card.¬† Doesn‚??t that mean higher education is being unreasonably denied to victimized minorities, because they have to get a photo ID when they enroll in college?

But no, apparently voting is the one interaction between citizens and their government where the latter is expected to ask no questions, rewriting the laws that govern millions to accommodate the most extreme examples of hardship, or even negligence.

Danhof of the National Center for Public Policy Research blasted the entire case against Pennsylvania‚??s voter ID law: ‚??The ACLU complaint ignores Supreme Court precedent, refers to several absurd ‘victim’ sob stories and is predicated on a refuted report from the highly-partisan Brennan Center.¬† The judge should summarily dismiss the ACLU’s complaint and allow the Commonwealth to protect its citizenry’s sacred right to vote.‚?Ě

The Brennan Center, a Soros-funded operation, produced a report called ‚??Citizens Without Proof,‚?Ě highly influential among opponents of voter ID laws, because it purports to chart the disproportionate effect of such laws on segments of the population most likely to be without driver‚??s licenses and other suitable forms of identification.¬† (What about the fact that suitable ID cards are readily available, free of charge?¬† It really, really, really helps to forget about that if you‚??re a voter ID opponent.¬† In Pennsylvania, there‚??s a $13.50 fee, but it‚??s waived if you sign a form attesting that you needed the card because you lack all other suitable photo ID.)

The NCPPR notes that the Brennan Center has been criticized for producing shoddy work.¬† The Heritage Foundation, for example, said ‚??Citizens Without Proof‚?Ě was ‚??dubious in its methodology and suspect in its sweeping conclusions.‚?̬† The report is nevertheless cited uncritically by the media, and has been introduced in court as evidence against Pennsylvania‚??s effort to properly identify voters.

But ‚??shoddy work‚?Ě is the very heart of the crusade against voter ID.¬† It‚??s all very loose, impressionistic, and emotional.¬† Of course sympathetic individuals are brought forth to make manipulative arguments from anecdote.¬† How could the people who want sane and reasonable measures to protect our electoral system respond in kind?¬† There are no personal tragedies for them to exploit.¬† The state of Florida recently discovered over 50 illegal aliens had cast illegitimate votes in previous elections.¬† Shall we find fifty camera-friendly elderly and minority voters from Florida and bring them on stage to talk about how they were disenfranchised by these fraudulent votes?

Voter ID can only be defeated by convincing the citizens of Information Age America that the one and only place data can never be processed efficiently is the voting booth.¬† And if the statistics introduced by the ACLU are to be taken seriously, then aren‚??t we really fretting about the wrong problem?¬† Shouldn‚??t we be more worried about a gigantic government that doles out hundreds of billions of dollars in benefits and subsidies, and routinely makes billion-dollar tax and spending decisions based on demographics‚?¶ when a sizable portion of the population is said to completely lack all forms of valid identification?

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Written By

John Hayward began his blogging career as a guest writer at Hot Air under the pen name "Doctor Zero," producing a collection of essays entitled Doctor Zero: Year One. He is a great admirer of free-market thinkers such as Arthur Laffer, Milton Friedman, and Thomas Sowell. He writes both political and cultural commentary, including book and movie reviews. An avid fan of horror and fantasy fiction, he has produced an e-book collection of short horror stories entitled Persistent Dread. John is a former staff writer for Human Events. He is a regular guest on the Rusty Humphries radio show, and has appeared on numerous other local and national radio programs, including G. Gordon Liddy, BattleLine, and Dennis Miller.

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