Though the story was largely overlooked due to the July 4th holiday, we learned last week that Pennsylvania’s voter-ID law is poised to disenfranchise more than 758,000 registered voters this year. In other words, 9.2% of the state’s 8.2 million voters will be blocked from participating in their own democracy because Republicans are trying to rig the election.
They’re not even subtle about. Republican Mike Turzai, Pennsylvania’s House Majority Leader, boasted that the state’s new voter-ID law, ostensibly about the integrity of the electoral process, “is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”
Eugene Robinson explained today that this Pennsylvania scheme is proof that the Republican Party “is trying to pull off an unconscionable crime.”
It’s important to realize how true this is. Pennsylvania’s new Republican-backed voter-ID law disproportionately affects African Americans, students, and the poor – the very constituencies the GOP doesn’t want to participate. And we’re talking about over 9% of Pennsylvania voters – more than enough to swing the state and the election to the far-right candidate.
Just to add insult to injury in this unconscionable crime, now there’s this.
For those who can’t watch clips online, this creepy ad is airing in Pennsylvania, showing lots of smiling people who love having to show their ID to satisfy the demands of Republican trying to rig an election cycle.
And who created the ad? I’m glad you asked.
The man behind a company that got a big state contract to educate Pennsylvania voters on the commonwealth’s restrictive new voter ID law is a fundraiser for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Ads created by his company, a Republican lobbying group, encourage Pennsylvania residents to obtain state-issued photo identification so they don’t “miss out” on their right to vote.
Republican lobbyist Chris Bravacos, who according to the Center For Responsive Politics has thus far bundled $30,000 for Romney’s campaign, is president and CEO of the Bravo Group, which received a $249,660 government contract from Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration for the ad campaign.
We’re left with a Republican that’s “trying to pull off an unconscionable crime,” while adding an insulting and possibly-corrupt twist.
By the way, someone asked me last week why the Justice Department doesn’t intervene in Pennsylvania the way it did in other states. The answer is simple: Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act covers Southern states with a history of discriminating against African-American voters, not Pennsylvania.
Update: In addition to the ad included above, Dave Weigel notes the other voter-ID commercial compares the voter-suppression tactics to the Voting Rights Act, which is pretty outrageous, even by GOP standards.