By Brad Friedman on 7/31/2012, 6:39pm PT  


Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Carole Aichele, testifying Tuesday during a state trial on the state’s controversial voter ID law, said she wasn’t sure about the details of the law, but stood by her unsupported claim that 99 percent of voters had valid identification.

“I don’t know what the law says,” Aichele said under questioning, according to CBS.

Aichele also couldn’t provide any evidence that 99 percent of voters already have a valid form of ID, as the state has claimed. CBS reported that when lawyers cited testimony from a Department of State official calling the number likely inaccurate, Aichele responded "I disagree."

Wow. Aichele is a Republican. Her husband is Republican Gov. Tom Corbett's chief of staff. Corbett was recently forced to admit that he had no clue what type of ID was now required to vote under the new law he recently signed.

Not since Arizona's Jan Brewer was promoted by Barack Obama from Sec. of State to Governor, has a state had such a clueless dope as their top election official, apparently. And here I thought the previous Secretary of the Commonwealth, Pedro Cortes, a Democrat, was a disaster back in 2008. I guess the bar is getting pretty low for state election officials in PA!...

Last week, on the eve of the ACLU's trial challenging the new GOP-enacted polling place Photo ID restriction, charging that it violates the state's constitutional right to vote, the parties released a remarkable stipulation in which the Commonwealth conceded they were aware of no in-person polling place voter fraud --- the only type of voter fraud that can possibly be deterred by such restrictions --- in the history of the state, or even in any other state!

"There have been no investigations or prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania; and the parties do not have direct personal knowledge of any such investigations or prosecutions in other states," the first item in the stipulation reads. It goes on to say that "The parties are not aware of any incidents of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania and do not have direct personal knowledge of in person voter fraud elsewhere ... Respondents will not offer any evidence in this action that in-person voter fraud has in fact occurred in Pennsylvania or elsewhere ... Respondents will not offer any evidence or argument that in person voter fraud is likely to occur in November 2012 in the absence of the Photo ID law."

That stipulation comes on the heels of Corbett's unsubstantiated claim, described to The BRAD BLOG as "ludicrous" by a PA election expert last March, that "some of the precincts come in with a 112 percent" voter turnout.

And yet, much of the media still pretend that these Republican laws have anything to do with voter fraud, when they are meant as no more than a way to shave off Democratic-leaning votes. Period. In the case of Pennsylvania, some 750,000 eligible voters (more than Obama won the state by in 2008) lack the type of ID that will be needed to vote this November unless this voter suppression law is overturned, according to a recent study. A more recent survey has found that another half-million have IDs that will be expired by November.

That means there are 1.6 million --- 20% of previously eligible voters --- who could find themselves unable to vote unless the law is overturned before November. That, after Aichele's office had previously claimed, when the law was being debated, that just 1% of voters (which is 1% too many!) could lose their right to vote under the GOP's new anti-voting restrictions.

Tightening the noose for the vote suppressors in the Keystone State, last week the U.S. Dept. of Justice also revealed that they were probing the new law as discriminatory, in possible violation of Section 2 of Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Given the Commonwealth's admission that the law, in fact, has nothing to do with "voter fraud", and the trial admission by Aichele, the woman tasked with implementing the law, that she's actually clueless about what the law does and doesn't do, and that she has no idea where that 1% number her office claimed actually came from, is there any doubt that this law will go down in flames in this trial?

At this point, it would be absolutely stunning if there were any other result...But I've learned long ago not to count chickens in this game...

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