Welcome to the state that was founded by William Penn, the state that welcomed newcomers of every religious and political stripe, that gave birth to a Free Library, to support of science and medicine (Franklin’s kite), to refuge from slavery, to freedom of the press and the right to own private property. Penn created a model constitution that held many of the rights and liberties that would later be granted all citizens of the United States.
And now the poisonous politics of 2012 have given us a different model. Despite every imaginable historic and conceptual violation of individual freedom, Pennsylvania Republicans (and a lower court judge) have decided that the state can take away the right to vote. At least, "for now" and "for some." And according to the Republicans, “for now” and “for some” is good enough. There could be a significant loss of votes for the “other” and that is what the Republicans dreamed in public, right out front!
The same conservative machine that gave us denial of the Affordable Health Care Act, Fracking Unlimited, bashing of reproductive services from Planned Parenthood, lots of jolly gerrymandering, deep cuts to education, and no cuts to their own benefits, has now accomplished the unimaginable.
The rascals have succeeded in going backwards in time far enough to encompass forbidding thousands of people the vote. Here again is the poll tax, discrimination against people of color, senior citizens, and the working poor that do not drive a car. Welcome to Florida and Texas and South Dakota everyone. Somehow being in that company does not feel quite as nice as that of William Penn and his vision of the free Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
It isn’t over yet. There is also a tendency in this state for judges to wear Republican robes, especially in the lower courts. Wiser eyes will still examine the voter ID law and when they do, the vote will be sacred once again.
•The Voter ID Coalition of the League of Women Voters: (www.lwvbucks.org) •VOTE411.org
•Bucks County Board of Elections 215-348-6000 (ask for information on Voter ID)
•Call 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772)
Don’t let them get away with this. A change in those who created this problem will mean that this evil legislation can be vacated. So VOTE, and do everything possible to help your neighbors to vote!
Ann Melby Shenkle,