Award-winning journalist and Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman records a podcast in conjunction with her weekly column: http://bit.ly/QBC5S
August 23, 2012
Pennsylvania has long been considered a swing state, even though it has gone to the Democratic presidential candidate in every election since 1992. Following the 2010 Republican sweep, giving the GOP control over many state legislatures and governorships, the nation has seen a wave of new laws that make it harder to vote. In Pennsylvania, for example, there is a new law imposing strict requirements that people show photo identification in order to vote.
While publicly touted as a law intended to inhibit voter impersonation at the polls, its real intent was explained in a rare moment of candor by Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, who, when going over a checklist of legislative accomplishments, bragged, “Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania: Done.”
New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice and others sued Pennsylvania to block the law, and were recently handed a defeat in state court. Nicole Austin-Hillery, director and counsel of the Brennan Center’s Washington, D.C., office, told me that “the state government stipulated that they have no evidence of in-person voter fraud ever having occurred in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, this court still says that it believes that it is OK for the state to implement a measure that is meant to protect the state against voter fraud. ... It basically ensures that many voters in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will have a very difficult, if not to impossible, time voting.” Estimates put the number of Pennsylvania voters who might be disenfranchised as more than 750,000.
It’s not just Pennsylvania. In Ohio, the Republican secretary of state, Jon Husted, has instructed the state’s 88 counties not to allow early voting on weekends, a voter enfranchisement strategy that has been popular with African-American and poorer voters, who tend to vote Democratic. In Florida, Republican Gov. Rick Scott has prevailed against the U.S. Justice Department as he continues a controversial purge of the voter rolls. In Texas, a gun license is an acceptable form of ID, but student ID cards are not. The Brennan Center is tracking laws recently passed or on the way in 25 states, including many key swing states, all which will have the result of making it harder for people to vote.
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ABOUT AMY GOODMAN:
Amy Goodman is an award-winning investigative journalist, syndicated columnist, author and the host of Democracy Now! Goodman is the first journalist to receive the Right Livelihood Award, widely known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize” for "developing an innovative model of truly independent grassroots political journalism that brings to millions of people the alternative voices that are often excluded by the mainstream media." The Independent of London named Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! "an inspiration"; pulsemedia.org placed Goodman at the top of their 20 Top Global Media Figures. Goodman is the author of four New York Times bestsellers. Her latest book, Breaking the Sound Barrier, proves the power of independent journalism in the struggle for a better world. Read all of her recent columns: http://www.democracynow.org/blog/category/weekly_column
ABOUT DEMOCRACY NOW!:
An independent, global weekday news hour, Democracy Now! is hosted by award-winning journalists Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez. Democracy Now! is broadcast in English and in Spanish on more than 1,000 public television and radio stations around the world.