I just completed a three-year term as an election official in Pennsylvania (and good riddance, by the way – it’s exhausting, getting there at 6, getting out at 9 that night, sitting on those hard chairs as people with colds lean over you to sign in). I wouldn’t do it again, but it was an interesting glimpse into the inflammatory influence of politics, especially people’s attitudes toward Pennsylvania’s many-year attempt to make people show ID to vote.
The Republican legislature and the Republican governor passed this law in 2012. There was almost zero evidence of voter fraud, but they thought it was a pretty good way to help Romney win (watch this if you don’t believe me).
And then, even when it didn’t help Romney, I guess they looked at some demographic trends and kept thinking it was a good idea and so, every election, we’d get these instructions about what we were supposed to say (it’s not required YET, but we’re requested to request proof that you are you) and sheets of paper telling people that soon they’d have to somehow try to get an ID if they didn’t have one – though, as it turned out, it wouldn’t have been easy:
Required IDs were only available through 71 PennDOT Drivers Licensing Centers across the state. Five of the 71 DLCs are located in Philadelphia, nine counties have no DLCs at all, and DLCs are openly only one day per week in nine counties and two days per week thirteen counties. The Pennsylvania Department of State provided too little access, no financial support to providing IDs to those without access, and no alternatives to obtaining the required IDs.
Anyway, the registered Republicans were all over this. They’d come in and triumphantly whip out their driver’s licenses. It’s not required, we’d say. Well it should be, they’d say. “Voting should be a privilege, not a right,” one even said. There was a lot of huffing and puffing on both sides.
Now, it’s dead. The Commonwealth Court ruled against it, and our fine Governor Corbett has finally said he’ll no longer fight to get it reinstated.
But the reason I’m writing about this is to make a prediction. When both the Wall Street Journal and Rand Paul say the Republican Party has better things to worry about, it means Voter ID will soon join the ranks of marriage inequality.