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

Last updated on February 8th, 2013 at 11:14 pm

Read: Samuel Alito Is The Insurrectionist Threat To Democracy On The Supreme Court

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

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