Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) made national news last week when he was asked about his support for a state Republican measure on forced, state-mandated, medically-unnecessary ultrasounds. “I don’t know how you make anybody watch,” the governor replied. “You just have to close your eyes.”
As it turns out, that’s not the only troubling thing Corbett said last week.
The Pennsylvania governor also signed into law a voter-ID measure, rushed through the state legislature by Republican policymakers, the latest development in what some have labeled the GOP’s “war on voting.”
Asked to explain the need for such a measure, Corbett offered a curious explanation (thanks to reader K.M. for the tip):
“When some of the precincts come in with a 112 percent reporting you have to scratch your head and say how does that happen?” questioned Governor Corbett.
At a certain level, that may seem persuasive. If there were precincts in the Keystone State that had 112% participation, then Republicans would have a pretty strong case for new measures intended to crack down on abuses.
But here’s the trouble: there are no examples of Pennsylvania precincts, at a time or in an election, coming in with 112% participation. Corbett appears to have simply made this up.
Indeed, Corbett was Pennsylvania’s state Attorney General, and before that, a U.S. Attorney. If he had found evidence of such obvious fraud, he had opportunities to investigate and prosecute. That never happened, because the fraud never took place.
It’d be less frustrating if proponents of voter-suppression tactics were more forthright about their motivations. Instead of pretending he’s combating a problem that doesn’t exist, Corbett and his allies should simply admit what is plainly true: GOP officials are eager to block traditionally-Democratic constituencies from voting, and requiring voter IDs disproportionately affects the poor, the elderly, and minorities.
The facts are obvious. You just have to open your eyes.