Cedar Crest College newspaper since 1923
by Emily Baxter, Web Editor and Nicole Jensen, Staff Writer
With the 2012 presidential election just around the corner, there are a lot of eyes on Pennsylvania voters. A known “swing state” (a state without party loyalty that can go either Republican or Democratic in the Electoral College voting), every vote counts this year: literally. Candidates not only have their sights set on who the people are voting for, but how they’re voting. After decades of the honor system, a Pennsylvania judge upheld a law in August that would require all Pennsylvania voters to show a state issued picture ID to be allowed to vote. When a barrage of opposed voters and civil rights groups cried foul, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered further hearings on the decision. While the law was ultimately ruled constitutional, the judge decided that Pennsylvania had not done enough to ensure that voters acquired proper identification in time. What does that mean for PA voters? You may be required to show ID one day, but notfor this year’s election.
Cedar Crest students pick sides…
Emily Baxter writes:
It’s very simple to do. Take out a card that has your name on it with an expiration date, your photo, and your age. Present it to a voting booth volunteer and there you go. You’re all set to vote.
So what is the big deal?
Voter fraud is so common that I’m surprised it’s not more of a national crisis. Ah, those liberals. They think it’s funny that Mickey Mouse, Tony Stark, and Barbie can vote. Not! Those are fake names that match people (or mice) that don’t exist in real life. These same liberals are making sure that at least for this election, voter ID doesn’t exist either. It is another ploy by the Left to make sure that President Obama wins again due to Donald Duck.
Voter ID is crucial for any election, but especially in Pennsylvania because we are a swing state. It’s simple enough to take out your driver’s license or state ID card to present to any voting booth volunteer. If you don’t have one, you can always use your Cedar Crest College student ID card with an expiration date on the back to vote.
So what’s the big fuss? Apparently it’s darn well awful if a poor citizen can’t get an ID. Um, hello? IDs from the state are FREE, according to the Pennsylvania Department of State. Just send in an application to get one from your handy-dandy local DMV place. Can’t get there? Get a carpool. No friends? Take the bus. There is a way to get your free voter ID card from the wonderful state of Pennsylvania.
Earlier this month I found out that a judge in the Pennsylvania courts blocked the voter ID law for this election. I am very disappointed; it just gives liberals another chance to spread the fraud from county to county. I still encourage everyone to have an ID card anyways; the volunteers want to know who’s real and who’s not!
I encourage everyone to vote this election. It’s not because it’s the most crucial election of our lives (every adult I know says that, regardless of party), but because it’s your privilege. We live in a free country where we have the chance to vote for representatives to lead us and guide us in the direction we want.
So don’t waste that chance. We are given a choice. Our characters depend on the choice we make. Do you want to sit back and watch or participate?
As I like to say, “Rock the vote”.
Nicole Jensen writes:
Voting in a presidential election is not merely a privilege; it’s a right, vehemently protected in our Constitution. The goal of all states and all legislatures (whether Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or otherwise) should be to ensure their citizens’ rights are protected and their voices heard, especially during election times. The voting process should be structured accordingly. Even though it is legal for Pennsylvania to adjust its voter requirements, a law that will get in the way of any number of honest, registered, voters from casting a ballot this election is not something that should be supported by any party in favor of democracy. Judge Robert Simpson was right on the money when he decided that the hasty application of this new law would needlessly exclude voters.
For me and I bet many of you, providing an ID would be as easy as going in your wallet. I personally have a driver’s license, a college ID, and even a passport I picked up for vacation last year. If I didn’t have them or I lost one, I could go on my phone or laptop and easily read, understand, and fill out the proper forms needed for a replacement. I could jump in my car at will and drive to the nearest DMV. These resources however are not available to an alarming number of Pennsylvania voters. According to political scientists at the University of Washington, over one-million registered voters do not have an acceptable ID and nearly half of those lack the documentation they would need to obtain one. Who are these out-of-luck voters? The majority of them are poor minorities and mentally challenged, illiterate, or elderly voters who are even less likely to have the means to get an ID in time for this year’s election. As I effortlessly follow this law in the news, many registered voters have so few resources, being denied their vote at the poll would have been the first time they were hearing about the law. These vulnerable populations already struggle to be heard in politics and adding further inconvenience to the process is negligent to say the least.
It isn’t just the citizens who are ill-equipped for the last-minute regulation; it seems Pennsylvania itself is not prepared to handle the demand. Although voter IDs are being offered to the public for free, their cost is being covered by the state and funding has only been allocated for 75,000 cards. That means that if every citizen who needed an ID had the means to obtain one, Pennsylvania wouldn’t have the means to provide them with one—(What does that tell you about their turnout expectations?) Furthermore, the accessibility and efficiency of offices providing IDs is laughable. Some PennDOT offices are open as few as one day a week and several Pennsylvania counties don’t have a Department of Transportation office at all. An excerpt from the Philadelphia Inquirer stated, “In recent visits to the Department of Transportation’s offices, the witnesses said, they found long lines, short hours, and misinformed clerks, which made obtaining voter identification cumbersome, and in some cases impossible, for those who don’t have supporting documentation.”
But what about protecting the integrity of our elections? The voter ID law has been promoted by its supporters as a necessary attempt to combat the voter fraud problem and keep our elections fair. That sounds like a reasonable solution, even to me, except for one oversight—there is no voter fraud problem. Everyone; the state, the supporters, and the naysayers, all acknowledged during the trial that they have no record of in-person voter fraud occurring in Pennsylvania. What’s more? They also have no reason to believe that voter fraud would occur in 2011 if the law wasn’t in place. So why was the law created you might ask? Let the record show that although we’ve been known as a swing state, Pennsylvania has voted Democratic in the last five elections, including a win for Obama four year ago. The demographic of people that would be left out of this election because of the voter ID law is overwhelmingly Democratic. Conveniently for its Republican supporters, the missing liberal votes this year would be more than enough to swing the vote the other way—Go figure.