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Demand verification voter registration lists contain valid voters

Voters send strong message

LEWISBURG — Speaking just days after an attention-getting primary that saw the state Senate's top two leaders ousted, local legislators said state lawmakers are working on a broad program of reform ranging from property tax and election reform to lobbying reform...

...Elections were another area lawmakers are reforming, Mr. Phillips said.

"There's a tremendous amount of fraud going on," he said.

The governor vetoed the most recent effort citing a clause that would have required voters to have identification at the polls. But Mr. Phillips expected another measure to replace it. It would prohibit polling places in private homes and bars and require voters to sign in ink when they vote...

'Centrist consensus' includes photo IDs, paper receipts

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 03/22/06

Former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James A. Baker III called for U.S. election reforms Wednesday that include uniform photo identification cards and a paper trail on electronic voting machines.

As leaders of a bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform, Carter and Baker discussed some of the commission's 87 recommendations for Congress and state legislators at a forum that began late Wednesday morning at the Carter Center in Atlanta.

Baker said the commission strove to reach a "centrist consensus" in favor of advocating entrenched partisan views.

The commission's most controversial recommendations called for photo IDs and paper receipts at electronic voting machines. The IDs make sense, both men said, as long as state officials make aggressive efforts to find would-be voters who lack photo IDs and provide them cards for free.

"We honestly believe you're going to see more registrations," Baker said. "You're going to see greater certainty as to who is showing up at the polling place."

Baker made his remarks on videotape after a conflict prevented his attendance.

Commission members said 26 states require photo ID to vote, up from 11 just a few years ago. They said paper ballots, or receipts, would remove doubt among voters worried about tech-savvy partisans tinkering with machines to manipulate the outcome.

Portions to be broadcast

The commission presented its report several months ago. Wednesday's forum, organized in part by Court TV and National Public Radio, was billed as the first public forum about the report. Portions will air on Court TV and public radio...



Pa. legislature passes new election bill without voter ID

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- A bill that would make wide-ranging changes to the state election code without imposing voter-identification requirements opposed by Gov. Ed Rendell was passed Wednesday by the Legislature.

The bill would prohibit the use of abandoned buildings and the private residences of elected officials and political candidates as polling places. In addition, it would extend the deadline for absentee ballots cast by overseas members of the military, set standards for what constitutes a valid vote on various voting systems, and require that polling places in private residences be handicapped-accessible, among other things.

The House passed the bill 139-59 and the Senate passed it 36-13. It now goes to Rendell, whose press secretary would not say whether the Democrat plans to sign the measure.

Many of those provisions were included in legislation that Rendell vetoed in March because he objected to a provision that would have imposed stricter voter-identification requirements. That bill would have required all voters to display some form of identification at the polls. Current law requires identification only from first-time voters at a polling place...

One ID, one vote! Posted on Fri, Mar. 31, 2006,                                                                                                                                                                        

REP. MARK Cohen's letter seems to be implying that the voter ID bill was                                                                                                                                                                                  designed by Republicans to "stack the deck" at the polls.

Stuart Caesar, Philadelphia

Fight over voter ID more politics than policy
Associated Press Writer
Legislation requiring Missouri voters to show a photo ID to cast a ballot is being hailed as a priority by Republicans -- and vilified as a hassle by Democrats.

But, as frequently happens in the Capitol, the problem it's trying to address -- and the harm it could cause -- may be exaggerated. And the strident support or opposition from both sides may have a lot more to do with politics than policy.

Lawmakers worked late into the night last week on the bill that would require voters to show a government-issued photo identification at the polls. Republicans say it's necessary to ensure people have confidence in the election system.

"That prevents dogs from voting; that prevents dead people from voting," said the bill's sponsor, Sen. Delbert Scott of Lowry City.

St. Louis in particular has been plagued with voting problems over the years. In 2001, investigators turned up thousands of fraudulent registration cards, including cards for a dog and a dead alderman.

During Senate debate on the bill, Democrats offered their own hypothetical scenarios -- including how to hold a proper election after a natural disaster like a volcano eruption (an unlikely occurrence in Missouri) or how to accommodate someone whose wallet was stolen the night before Election Day.

Democrats say the requirement is a burden that will discourage tens of thousands of people from voting -- especially the poor, elderly and disabled who don't have a driver's license.

In reality, both sides' scare tactics are likely exaggerated.

Democrats say problems such as having a dog registered to vote are rare, and the solution is tougher penalties for faking voter registrations, not requiring everyone who walks up to a polling place to show a photo ID.

Republicans say about 95 percent of Missourians already have a driver's license, so not many people would be affected by the new requirement anyway.

PA Students discuss this issue
Poll Questions

Which part of the voting bill do you support the most? Poll Dates: February 13, 2006 to March 3, 2006

Protecting Minority Voters by the National Commission on the Voting Rights Act
Who is the National Commission on the Voting Rights Act?
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, in conjunction with other leading civil rights organizations, has created the National Commission on the Voting Rights Act to conduct regional hearings across the country. The goal of the National Commission is to write a comprehensive report detailing discrimination in voting since 1982, the last major reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. This report will be used to educate the public, advocates, and policymakers on this record of discrimination and its relationship to the upcoming reauthorization.
Discussion with Bill Lann Lee C-Span Tuesday, 2/21/06
Caller:  how did you deal with all the military ballots in Florida in 2000 that the Democrats didn't want counted...
Lee doesn't answer that question.
He goes on to say that if you are an American citizen you should be able to vote, and have your voice heard.
Lee doesn't address the potential and real-life voter fraud which is rampant in many states particularly involving illegal aliens.

By PhillyIMC | 02.21.2006
Governor Ed Rendell vetoed bill HB 1318 today at a ceremony at the Constitution Center in Philly. HB 1318 threatened to disenfranchise voters by requiring ID at every election and eliminating commonly used polling places. Local community groups, as part of the Protect the Vote coalition, were instrumental in the bill's defeat.
"I plan to veto this legislation because it places an unnecessary new burden on electors that will result in some losing their right to vote," Rendell said. Rendell's letter to House can be read here. In it he states "I see no reason to enact laws that will result in voter confusion and disenfranchise legitimately registered voters."

The Protect the Vote coalition, comprised of over 50 organizations state wide, lobbied to block the legislation. "Free and fair elections are the hallmark of a healthy democracy," said Elizabeth Milner, President of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania in a statement released by Project HOME. "The power of our vote is a fundamental right of every citizen. How ironic it is that at the same time young Americans are giving their lives to remove barriers to voting in Iraq, legislators in Pennsylvania are passing a law that creates barriers for thousands of our fellow citizens."

HB 1318 has been criticized as an attempt by Republican lawmakers to disenfranchise poor and older citizens who would have been most affected by the new requirements. Requiring identification at every election would have also had the potential to increase lines at polling places making it more difficult for larger numbers to vote. An earlier version of the bill also disenfranchised former felons who were still on parole.

Supporters of the bill argued that the legislation was a necessary step to thwart voter fraud. In his letter to the House Rendell argues that, "Proponents of House Bill 1318 have failed to document a single instance in which the outcome of a Pennsylvania election was affected by individuals posing as registered voters. Indeed, the National Commission on Election Reform found that there is no evidence that the fraudulent acts the voter ID provision seeks to address exists anywhere in the United States.”

Members of the Protect the Vote campaign, who had fought for months against the legislation, were on hand at the veto ceremony to celebrate the victory.

Rendell promises veto on voter ID bill
By David M. Brown
Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Saying his intent is to protect voting rights, Gov. Ed Rendell vowed Monday in Pittsburgh to veto legislation that would require voters to show identification at the polls.

The announcement wasn't a surprise. Rendell, a Democrat from Philadelphia, had hinted for days that he plans to veto the measure passed last week along partisan lines by the Republican-controlled Legislature.

"At a time in our nation's history when voting is becoming ... less and less prevalent among our people, we should be doing everything in our power to make it easier to vote -- not to make it harder," Rendell said at an event in the Hill District.

Supporters of the ID requirement claimed Rendell was playing politics with a reform measure designed to restore public confidence in the election system and safeguard voters' rights...



By VotePA   
February 15, 2006

HB 1318 passes in the Senate and House.  Tell the Governor to VETO HB 1318 and protect our vote.

This afternoon the State Senate passed HB 1318 27 to 20. The following letter from VotePA was sent today. VotePA along with the other organizations in the Protect Our Vote Campaign are encouraging Governor Rendell to veto the bill and support the real election reform bills HB 2000 and SB 977.

Dear Governor Rendell,

VotePA is a statewide alliance of groups and individuals committed to voting rights and election integrity in our state. We support fair elections, open to all citizens, with accurate counting of every person’s vote as cast. We encourage every eligible Pennsylvanian to register and vote.

We are writing to ask you to please veto HB 1318, should it come to your desk for a signature.

Pennsylvania is a state with a long history of open and fair government by and for its people. HB 1318 runs counter to that history, for it is a bill that does the opposite of encouraging voting. The ID requirements in it alone create serious obstacles that will make it more difficult for seniors, the disabled, the poor, and minorities to register and cast a ballot.

In today’s modern world we want Pennsylvania to project an image of a state with increasing participation by all citizens, not a state that is regressing to past times when the ballot box was closed to all but a select few.

We believe that HB 1318 is meant to deter public attention onto non-existent "voter fraud" and away from the real election reforms we need in our state such as accurate counting of all votes through the use of voter-verified paper records or ballots on all voting systems and routine random manual audits of all elections. Bills such as HB 1318 are taking a toll, and keep good election reform bills such as SB 977 and HB 2000 (for voter-verified paper records with audits) stuck in committee.

Please veto HB 1318. The Protect Our Vote Campaign is co-sponsored by AARP Pennsylvania, ACLU Pennsylvania, ACORN Pennsylvania, Advancement Project, Bike for Democracy, B-PEP (Black Political Empowerment Project), Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, CALL (a Gamaliel Foundation Affiliate), Center for Civic Participation, Congreso De Latinos Unidos, Committee of Seventy, Common Cause of Pennsylvania, Everybody VOTE, Ex-Offenders Association of PA, Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, Just Harvest, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, League of Young Voters, League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania, Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Neighborhood Networks, PA PAC for Progress, Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans, Pennsylvania Council of Churches, Pennsylvania Hip Hop Political Convention, PA Voters Coalition, People For the American Way, Philadelphia Young Democrats, Philly for Change, Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network, Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, Project H.O.M.E., Project VOTE, Resources for Human Development, Roots of Promise/a project of The Thomas Merton Center, SEPA Americans for Democratic Action, Service Employees International Union Pennsylvania State Council, Southwestern PA Alliance of HUD Tenants, Third Street Publishers of East Stroudsburg, UNITE HERE, Vote for Homes!, VotePA, X-Offenders for Community Empowerment, Western Pennsylvania Black Political Assembly, WomenVote PA/Women’s Law Project, and other organizations. ..



The following news items are for discussion purposes.

Voter ID bill headed to Rendell

2/15/2006, 5:13 p.m. ET
The Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A bill requiring voters to show identification at the polls cleared the Legislature on Wednesday, largely on the strength of Republican votes, but headed toward a possible veto by Gov. Ed Rendell.

Republicans maintain that the provision will fight voter fraud by ensuring that a person can cast only one ballot in an election, while Democrats countered that the measure would open the door to countless voter challenges and create long lines at the ballot box that drive voters away.

"It can, it will, I tell you, result in voter suppression," said Sen. Anthony Williams, D-Philadelphia

Rendell has not said that he would veto the legislation, but has expressed serious concerns about it, saying through his spokeswoman on Tuesday that the bill "could disenfranchise thousands of voters."

The legislation, a compromise between House and Senate versions, passed the Senate 27-20 on Wednesday, and the House on Tuesday, 106-91, with the vote mostly along party lines.

Currently, only people voting in a polling place for the first time must show identification.

Under the legislation, every voter would have to show election workers a form of identification such as a valid driver's license; a U.S. passport; a student, employee or government ID; a county voter registration card; a firearm permit; a current utility bill; or a current bank statement, paycheck or government check.

A provision from an earlier version banning felons from voting while on probation or parole was dropped.

However, the legislation also included several other provisions agreed upon by Democrats and Republicans, including extending the counting of absentee ballots cast by overseas voters until seven days following the election, if the absentee ballots are postmarked by the day before the election.

Additionally, the bill would impose stricter requirements on the location of polling stations, banning them from the private homes of elected or appointed party officials, candidates, and elected officials, or places that are inaccessible to the physically disabled.

Most of the bill's provisions would become effective in time for the Nov. 7 general election. A provision that would raise the minimum pay for polling station workers would take effect Jan. 1.

Penn Live

Voter fraud rarely occurs, officials say

Some question need to require identification
Friday, February 17, 2006
Of The Patriot-News

With all the debate over whether voters should show identification when they come to the polls, some might think the courts are clogged with ballot-casting miscreants after every election.


Local election and law enforcement officials said they can count on one hand, with fingers left over, prosecutions against people who tried to vote twice or pretended to be someone else to cast a ballot.

If the state election bureau, state police or attorney general's office kept statistics on it, the idea that it's a big problem might be put down as an urban myth. But those agencies don't keep track of it and officials said it hasn't been a problem.

But it's getting a lot of talk because of the Voter Protection Act, which has passed the state House and Senate. It would require voters to show a photo ID or at least something with their name on it, such as a utility bill or paycheck.

"I don't think Dauphin County has a problem," said county District Attorney Ed Marsico. In the 2004 election, when provisional ballots were introduced, there were half a dozen suspected cases of abuse, but none was prosecuted, he said. Before that, there might have been one case about 15 years ago, Marsico said.

In Cumberland County, District Attorney David Freed reported the same.

"We get complaints [on] just about everything else relating to voting except voter fraud at the polls," Freed said. "Pure voter fraud, somebody trying to vote with a fake ID or doing it in an intentional fashion, trying to defraud the election board, the complaints are extremely rare."

"I've been in this business 26 years and I don't remember one case that we ever had to take to the district attorney," said Elaine F. Ludwig, Lebanon County's chief clerk of elections.

With the statewide registration data base and provisional ballots, voter fraud is not a problem, Ludwig said. Introduced in 2004, provisional ballots allow someone whose eligibility is in question to vote on a paper ballot that is examined later.

How about Philadelphia?

"There have been instances, but I wouldn't say in every election," said Peter Berson, a Philadelphia assistant district attorney and assistant chief of the government fraud unit. In the 2004 election there might have been a couple dozen complaints, but no charges, he said.

"It wasn't any kind of widespread 'stuff the ballot box initiative' that maybe some people would portray it to be," Berson said. He said provisional ballots have helped.

Gov. Ed Rendell -- who was Philly's district attorney and later its mayor -- questioned where all the fraud talk was coming from.

Rendell has signaled he'll veto the bill and said "nobody has come anywhere close" to showing why it is necessary.

"I think it is some urban legend that feeds on itself without anyone looking for substantial fact," Rendell said. "I actually think it's an attempt to manipulate the voting system and it's pretty despicable because other states are trying to find ways to expand the voting system and get more people to vote."

Even in the last two presidential elections -- which in Philadelphia were monitored by poll watchers -- there weren't significant problems, Rendell said.

Yesterday, House Majority Leader Sam Smith, R-Jefferson, wrote a letter to Rendell urging him to sign the bill and highlighting past fraud cases, though they all dealt with nominating petitions.

But Smith's spokesman, Steve Miskin, said there's likely more voter fraud occurring than the amount being cited, and said even one case is too many. He asked if it is really too much to ask people to show identification after Sept. 11, 2001.

Miskin said anyone who showed up to vote without an ID could still use a provisional ballot, so nobody would be disenfranchised.

"In this day and age when there are very close elections, even a small amount of fraud can affect the outcome of an election," Miskin said. "Anytime there is one vote that's stolen, it disenfranchises every other voter. ... If the governor is to veto this bill it would be similar to condoning fraud."

more Patriot News

Issue:  Requirement in PA for Voter ID

Senate approves bill to require ID from voters

Friday, December 16, 2005

By Marc Levy, The Associated Press

HARRISBURG -- A bill that would require Pennsylvania voters to show some form of identification at the polls or be forced to cast a provisional ballot has passed the state Senate.

The Republican-sponsored bill was approved Wednesday night without debate, 29-21, and sent to the House, which has already approved a measure with similar identification requirements.

However, a spokeswoman for Gov. Ed Rendell and an American Civil Liberties Union official criticized it as putting up obstacles for voters...


Issue:  requesting proof of identity prior to voting at the polling place, or upon application for an absentee ballot.
Pennsylvania legislation has recently passed which would require a voter show identification at the polling place prior to voting, or upon application for an absentee ballot.

House passes bill to require voter ID

Thursday, February 02, 2006
Of The Patriot-News

The state House passed a bill yesterday that would require voters to show a picture identification card at the polls and would prevent felons from voting until after their maximum sentence had expired.

Republicans said that the measure, which passed by a 106-85 vote, would prevent voter fraud.


Previous News

Resolution on Electronic Voting

Kim Alexander, California Voter Foundation
More, much more, search Google

More Resources in links

Author and Democrat activist, Greg Palast warns of the Florida-tion of American voting - but his politicization of the issue to ensure clean and tamper-proof election systems is not to be commended - unfortunately so.  Palast's endeavor is one that is obviously political and partisan.
This is just plain silly:
Palast and others who sign such a resolution are using the issue of clean elections and tamper-proof voting machines for their own agenda.  That agenda neglects the real possibility that voter registration rolls were in the year 2000 and in the years preceding and following:
stacked with duplicates that is, residents of different states claiming voting rights in more than one state, or voting by both absentee ballot and in-person.  This situation has potential to be commonplace due to the 1993 Motor Votor Act.  In our state, many senior citizens locate to Florida during the winter months, then return to Pennsylvania in the humid warm months.  Recently, a candidate for a local office was determined to have been registered to vote in Ohio when he applied for a driver's license, and also in the county of Fayette.  The candidate addressed the matter publicly during a radio talk program, stating he'd been automatically registered to vote in Ohio when he applied for a driver's license, unknowlingly to him at the time, he said.
voter registration rolls riddled with non-citizens - who is checking the status of persons who can simply use a driver's license as identification of residency?
rolls unpurged of convicted felons, deceased persons, and names of dogs, cats, and people who do not exist.
Purging of voter registration rolls is a several step procedure.  The process doesn't happen in one week, or the length of time of a short vacation.  Names are not immediately removed from the rolls, in fact, states have deadlines for removal of names, by law giving ample enough time for a voter to correct an error and reregister.  However, the above blanket statement about thousands of voters who were removed from the rolls doesn't deliniate what process was followed at the local level to remove the voters. 
In Pennsylvania, there is a lengthy process wherein the voter is sent a letter informing the voter that information indicates:  the voter is deceased;  address has been changed via the post office notification.  It is up to the citizen who receives notice of an eventual removal to get off the old buttinsky and visit the election office locally to correct the error.
This statement shows the fallacy of the charge that it was the fault of the state of Florida (Jeb Bush and Sec. of State, Katherine Harris) that erroneously removed names from the voter rolls were not reinstated as legitimate voters in time for the election.  The statement admits that the names were removed in the MONTHS preceding the 2000 election. 
Thousands of African-American voters, like Johnny Jackson Jr., were falsely identified as felons and removed from the voter rolls in the months preceding the election.
While there were errors, the errors could have been corrected by the individual voter registrant immediately upon finding out his name was going to be removed.  The voter does have an opportunity to be reinstated as a voter by simply visiting the local election bureau, and proving legitimacy of citizenship, a clean record, and state residency.  It's just not that difficult to trek down to the local election offices.  So why wasn't that done when an individual's name showed up erroneously to be purged at the "local" level. 
If there was this mass of people who were aware they were registered to vote, legitimately, with current, updated addresses recorded at the local election office, there should have been a mass of people flooding the local election offices to protest the removals, in the months preceding the election.  There wasn't.  So it is not too far fetched to wonder whether many of the names were fraudulent to begin with.  Who would have the time to check out all of the new registrants at the local level?  doing so also puts a strain on the local districts. 
Remember, the state forwarded the database of names to the local election bureau.  It was the obligation of the local officials to check the names, usually, that is done by sending out postcards to the address of the last known address of the individual.  When a response is not forthcoming, the officials send another notification of removal from the voter registration list.  Only after another response is not forthcoming is the name purged from the voter registration list. 
It is possible with budget problems, the local districts simply didn't have the resources to check out all of the flagged names, so many were removed.
However, it is the obligation of the registered voter to make sure the address is current at the local election office, therefore, the voter can receive notification of removal from voter registration listing.  It is not the obligation of anyone other than the voter to make sure an address is current and up to date in the records of the local election office.
Another puzzlement.  It appears the race of voter registrants is included on the registration.  But please check out the federal law regarding voting rights and state-by-state laws. 
Search laws race on form for voter registration.
Also, has someone completed a study of how many felons, deceased persons, dogs, cats, etc. remained on voter registration lists not only in Florida, but across the nation?
There were several other features of the 2000 Presidential election which should be discussed.  What most people miss concerning the 2000 Presidential Election:  the machines that caused all of the so-called problems, (the ones that did not punch a clear hole even though the hole was perforated) were the newer machines which had been used in the election of 1996.  Yet, there was no outcry about undervoted ballots then by Democrats in charge of Democrat precincts.  Sad.  As far as purging of voters from Florida's voter registration rolls, the state of florida hired a private company to collate names of felons, deceased persons, etc and report the names to the state.  The state then remitted the names to the individual local county election bureaus all across the state.  It was the duty of election officials at the local level to check out the names, and to either remove or not remove the names from the voter registration listing.  Unfortunately, many of these officials simply didn't check.  They removed the names, and only later were many of the names determined to be not among those which were convicted felons.  However, another important point, the state did have provisional voting at the time.  Any voter who had been removed from the listing could have cast a provisional ballot.  Unfortunately, many of these voters simply were negligent of their own responsibility to reregister before the deadline for voting registration, and/or to cast a provisional ballot.
At any rate, how many deceased persons, non-citizens, convicted felons remain on voter registration lists across the nation?  How many names are duplicated in more than one state?  Just one false vote muddies the entire voting process.  Where is the mass of outcry about fraudulent votes?
See Trail of Treachery for the documented chronology of chad fraud.

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