Republican Defends Voter ID by Saying If You Can’t Walk, You Can’t Vote

GOP operative Rick Tyler defended Pennsylvania’s voter ID law today with the rationale that if a person can’t physically go buy an ID, then they can’t vote.

Here is the video from MSNBC:

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Transcript by MSNBC:

Rendell: It’s obviously easier to get a gun. You can get it instantaneously. There’s no instant registration in Pennsylvania, even though there is in a few states. But the bottom line is, this is a very bad law that was designed for one purpose. And Representative Turzai let the cat out of the bag. In the eight years I was governor, I oversaw the secretary of state’s office that was responsible for running elections. Two hotly contested presidential elections, we didn’t have more than the ten cases in eight years. That’s about one and a quarter a year of someone trying to vote on someone else’s name or identification. it was a solution looking for a problem that didn’t exist. Representive Turzai said to a Republican state committee convention, he was checking off all the things that the republican legislature had done, and he said, voter ID law, check. It’s going to allow Mitt Romney to carry the state of Pennsylvania. He let the cat out of the bag. This was politics, pure and simple. In Philadelphia, it could disenfranchise close to one out of five voters. In Pennsylvania, one out of ten. and a lot of these voters are older people who don’t even have the means or the physical ability to get in to a PennDOT office to get their voter ID. A 91-year-old voter who had voted in 70 straight elections, never had a photo ID, she went into a PennDOT office to get a voter ID, she had her birth certificate, but that was in her maiden name, and she was now using her married name, they wouldn’t accept it. They said get a lawyer and change your name.

Tyler: Richard, you left out of your setup piece that you need a photo ID to get a gun anyway. So all the charges you cited you would have to pay to get a gun anyway. so there is no one in Pennsylvania or anyone in the united states, for that matter, who doesn’t have the means to go and get a photo ID they may be — they may not have a car, but are you telling me, governor, that the Democratic Party and their operatives or the campaigns in Philadelphia will not go and pick up elderly lady and take her to the registration place to get her a photo ID so she can vote? And this isn’t about politics. And the governor is right. hold on. It is about politics, the governor is right. The only reason to not require a photo ID– and by the way, why don’t you go after the libraries too is because the democrats want to cover up fraud. that’s the only reason that you would ever not want to require a photo i.d. at the poll place.

Rendell: Rick, you’re being disingenuo disingenuous.

Tyler: No, i’m not.

Rendell: During the hearings on this, they were asked to produce instances of fraud. In eight years, they produced less than ten instances of this type of fraud. The problem didn’t exist. We had two contentious presidential elections. There was no element, no examples of this in those presidential elections. I mean, it is a joke. It’s pure politics.

Tyler: So what’s the joke? why —

Rendell: Let me tell you why it’s a joke. In Philadelphia, I mean, in Pennsylvania, that’s 160,000. If the secretary of state–

Tyler: Who can all get an ID governor, they can all get an ID..

Rendell: Who many of them don’t have the physical ability to get to a voter registration office, number one.

Tyler: Well, then, they won’t have the physical ability —

Rendell: No, they can walk down the block to get to their voting place. They can’t go — often it’s a 10, 15-minute drive –

Tyler: It’s a red herring, governor.

Rendell: It isn’t a red herring. If, in fact, in eight years there were ten instances of this fraud, why do you need this for.

Tyler: I’ll answer the question. Why do the airlines require a photo ID when you get on an airline? Must be profiling going on. Why do the library require a photo ID to get out a book. Maybe they’re disenfranchising people because they don’t want them to be able to read. It is ridiculous, governor.

Republican operative Rick Tyler tried to defend the Pennsylvania voter ID law with every false equivalency that he could dream up, but voting is not the same as flying on an airplane or borrowing a library book. Americans do not have a legal right to borrow a fly or go to the library, but they do have the right to vote. Airlines require identification as a security measure.

Libraries require identification to prevent theft, but since Pennsylvania Republicans have already admitted that there is no voter fraud occurring in the state, why do voters have to show ID?

Tyler saved his most offensive argument for people who aren’t physically able to go PennDOT to get an ID. His argument was that if a person can’t physically get to PennDOT, then they can’t vote.

His point was not only insulting to every person who by age, disability, or other circumstance is physically limited, it also showed a complete ignorance of what it is like to be a Pennsylvanian who does not drive.

Pennsylvania is a very large state and its Driver License Centers where the only form of acceptable identification can be purchased, are not easily accessible. According to an amicus brief filed by the AARP on behalf of the court challenge to the voter ID law, Pennsylvania has just 71 Driver Licensing Center in the entire state. Only 50 of these are open 4 days a week or more. Twenty four percent of the state’s population lives more than ten miles from a Driver License Center, and nine counties in Pennsylvania have no Driver License Center at all.

More than half (362,675) of the over 750,000+ Pennsylvanians who lack the required identification are senior citizens. Over one third of this total (136,000) are active registered voters who live in the Democratic stronghold of Philadelphia. The Republican answer to this problem is to as Tyler put it, get someone from your church or the Democratic Party to take you to get identification. The problem is that many of these older voters, who have been voting their whole lives without ID, don’t have the documentation required to purchase the identification. On top of these other factors is the cost of the identification. The ID is not free for anyone.

It is not a coincidence that this law targets senior citizens in the urban areas of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, which are a dependable Democratic voting bloc, who also happen to lack adequate transportation.

Equally as disgusting the Pennsylvania voter ID law is also targeting veterans for disenfranchisement. Pennsylvania has 470,000 veterans over age 65 who use their Department of Veterans Affairs veterans ID card as identification, but the state has legislated that the veterans ID is not acceptable identification for voting.

Pennsylvania Republicans have passed a law that literally disenfranchises people who don’t have identification, and aren’t physically able to obtain it. As Rick Tyler put, if you aren’t physically able to get to PennDOT, then you aren’t physically able to vote.

Republicans in this state legislated the disenfranchisement of the poor, the disabled, and the elderly as they have taken the right to vote and turned it into an exercise in Social Darwinism, all in the hope of getting Mitt Romney elected president.

Tom Corbett and the Pennsylvania Republican Party have made voting a physical challenge. With this in mind, please Pennsylvania tea partiers tell me again about the vision of the Founders.

Image: ACLU of Pennsylvania

25 Replies to “Republican Defends Voter ID by Saying If You Can’t Walk, You Can’t Vote”

  1. Actually, libraries do not require photo IDs in order to get a card. All they require is something with your name an address on it, such as a utility bill.

  2. I don’t think Tyler would appreciate the right to vote be based upon decency & respect for your fellow citizens, he’d be stripped of his…no one believes this lying creep or his supporters who wish to strip people of their voting rights because they MAY vote & support candidates opposing the GOP.

  3. Rosalee, the thrust is that the people who will most likely be unable to get the required I.D. are the old, the young, the poor, the sick, and minorities–those least eager to put the nation’s wealth into a few rich hands to be taken out of the country.

  4. It isn’t just people in wheelchairs or braces, it could impact all disabled people. Able-bodied people who need assistance, such as the blind or deaf, might need help navigating a driver license center, let alone the temporary chaos of a polling station. Mental disabilities, seizure disorders, metabolic temperature intolerances- there’s a whole host of reasons why a person who can legally vote and has the desire to do so might have a problem getting there.

    Based on that, Tyler is really saying that no disabled person should vote, thereby cutting out another swath of people who aren’t likely to vote for him and his gang of thieves.

  5. The republicans know their masses are dwindling… if they can’t steal an election… they can’t win one.

  6. I have never had to present a photo I.D. to get a library card, and I have never had a library card that was a photo I.D. requiring any form of I.D. to vote that disproportionately burdens the disabled – as this man has admitted- is surely a violation of the Equal Protections clause and the Amaricans with Disabilities Act, as well. If they want everyone to present a specific, state-issued photo ID, they need to open kiosks that issue them in every city square block and in every convenient center in the countryside- say, one per city hall in every small town and one per stated number of furlongs according to population density in truly rural areas. Furthermore, people over a certain age, people from disaster areas, and people who have been voting in the state for at least five years, should, on showing of tax biills, rent receipts, or utility bills be allowed to affidavit in. Anything more stringent than this doesn’t pass the smell test. I hope the Justice Department is looking into this right now, because after the election could be too late…forever.

  7. I’m watching Rachel Maddow right now, with guest host Ezra Klein, who just did the Best New Thing segment. Gabby Giffords, who spends much of her time in a wheelchair, was able to make it to the top of a mountain in the French Alps. How does that fit in with Tyler’s statement?

    Considering how much effort they put into keeping Terri Schiavo alive, Tyler is just exposing how hypocritical the Right Wing is when he says the disabled shouldn’t vote. Then again, if every non-thinking fetus or brain damaged woman is more important than children living in poverty or people overcoming severe physical trauma to return to a normal life, I’m an idiot for trying to be logical.

  8. If Tyler and the GOP thinks the Law is so fair then why don’t he and the Republican supply the ride and the money for these ID’s… instead of trying to put it off on the Democrats who don’t want the law to begin with.

  9. It’s called “poll tax” and it is illegal.

    The ADA should be all over this–many disabled people, like quadraplegics, aren’t in a position to go to anywhere to get an ID. But they are perfectly capable–and entitled–to vote via absentee ballot. To say that if you can’t walk you can’t vote is discriminatory in the extreme and blatantly illegal. That perhaps 10 cases of voter fraud over an 8 year period shows how minute the “problem” is, certainly not worth disenfranching hundreds, if not thousands, of voters.

  10. These arguments for photo IDs to vote are idiotic and the people making these arguments know it. The only purpose of these laws is to make it harder for people to vote. End of story. There is no reason other than that and it is absolutely insidious that they insist on disenfranchising millions of people across the country. They have a crappy candidate in Romney, they know he can’t win fair and square, so now they’re going to just keep people from voting – people who are likely to vote Democratic. But here’s the thing: not all these people would vote Democratic, some are Republicans, so they’re shooting themselves in the foot pushing these laws.

    If someone is registered to vote, they should have a voter registration card or, if they don’t, their name is on a list. They can show any kind of ID – student ID, electric bill, passport, etc. – to prove they are who they say they are. There is NO reason for making people get a specific type of ID. NONE.

    They ought to be ashamed of themselves, but then, that would mean they have some sense of shame and they’ve proven over and over again that they are shameless.

  11. People have those forms of ID. Same with veteran or student ID. The whole idea is to say not good enough, you have to go somewhere and pay money to get a special photo ID. In other words, make it difficult for people to vote.

  12. This is an excellent idea, Reynardine! Maybe they should be forced to explain their hostility to making it convenient for all loyal, upstanding, qualified American citizens to vote.

    They have successfully framed this as a situation where anyone who objects to these laws is a person who is frustrated because they will not be able to vote illegally.

  13. So a federally issued Veteran’s ID card is not good enough to vote in Penn. This is amazing, how could that ID not be good enough? A hunting licence will work, but not a Veterans ID. This is not about keeping elections honest, this is about voter supression, pure and simple. If this law is allowed to stand, democracy dies a little more.

  14. Ok, I’m going to play devil’s advocate here. I think asking for an official government ID makes lots of sense to vote, but not for the reasons the Rethuglicans are citing. It would make sense purely by virtue of how much other stuff you need your photo ID to use. However, if it’s really the case that a whole 8 Voter Fraud cases happened in 10 years, then why is it imperative to get this done in an election year if you’re not trying to deliberately skew the results?

  15. First it was a war on the poor, then a war on the elderly, then the war on civil service jobs, then a war on the the unions, war on Obamacare, war on women, NOW a war on the disabled? Whats next, an all out assult on the whole American public? I see it coming from the GOP soon if they get into office. Facism is rearing it’s ugly head. They are so bloodthristy that if there is no war going on somewhere in the world, they will create one to extend their enjoyment in killing. And probably starting in your own back yard or living room.

  16. I guess thats the way you do it, in our country now, you just make it so only the people you want to vote can vote. Funny isnt it, that our government would be all over another country for this kind of ‘voter obstruction’

  17. The Texas voter ID will accept a gun license as a valid Id to vote, but it won’t accept student IDs issued by colleges. It’s fairly easy for poll workers to match the picture on the student ID to the person using it. I think the law is intended to prevent young people, many of whom vote for democrats, from voting in large numbers.

  18. It’s a tired argument to talk about other places where you need a photo ID. As soon as I hear somebody start to go down that road it’s clear to me they don’t have a good defensible position. You need to make the case of why a photo ID is requirement for voting and why it’s necessary to disenfranchise registered voters. There has to be a clear case made for existing fraud and why it’s worthwhile to disenfranchise voters in order to combat that fraud. But they have no case to make on voter fraud because it doesn’t exist. So they must resort to saying, “when I buy beer” or “before I can get on a airplane”. And then I ask: Are you really equating a fundamental right as a citizen of the United States to buying beer? Really? When a Republican tells you there are illegitimate votes that favor Democrats, what they are referring to are registered voters who are members of a minority group who will likely vote Democratic.

  19. Republicans already had little to no credibility on this issue but now they are registering negative on the cred-o-meter. When their entire argument for why they passed the voter ID law in Pennsylvania (to combat voter fraud) isn’t even being used as a defense in court you know the game is over for Republicans on this ruse.

  20. Just wondering if a governor (Florida) can purge voters without any house or senate approval? Can this be challenged? I don’t think a petition will stop him if he has absolute power to purge voters.

  21. I’m astonished at your question. Why is it important to get this done in an election year???? Gee, maybe so people CAN VOTE in the election. That’s what elections are for.

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