The fact of the matter is, voter fraud is a non–issue. The Brennan Center for Justice estimates that instances of voter fraud occur at the laughable rate of 0.0004 percent. It is hardly the scourge on our democracy Republicans would have us believe it to be. Yet, in this era of post-truth politics where facts account for little of our understanding of political machinations, Republicans have fooled 64 percent of the American public into believing voter fraud exists. GOP officials will say they don’t need to wait for it to become a problem before solving it, but when has preventative legislation ever been a Republican concern? Climate change, anyone?
No, the real goal has been and continues to be voter suppression. In Pennsylvania, Turzai’s state, the new voter ID law signed by Republican Gov. Tom Corbett the same day it passed the legislature in March of this year requires voters to have “photo identification issued by state or federal government, a state university or a nursing home.”
Further, the ID must have a current expiration date, which, as reported by BrentinMock for ColorLines, state employee identification cards, which are valid forms ID under the law, do not have. Approximately 10 percent of Pennsylvanians do not have a valid ID under this new law. Which is more important: the 0.0004 percent of potential voter fraud or the 10 percent of the state’s population being excluded from the democratic process?
According to Turzai and his Republican colleagues, the 10 percent doesn’t matter at all, and because so many will be ineligible to vote, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is assured victory come November. Turzai’s spokesman, Stephen Miskin, has attempted to do damage control on the Majority Leader’s comments. According to CBS, Miskin said, “He’s saying that for the first time a Republican candidate – presidential candidate – is going to have a fairer playing field,” and added, “Just like every other candidate is going to have a fairer playing field, because they’re going to insure that the voter, that each individual vote, rather, is protected.”
However, the fundamental right to vote is being denied to thousands across the state, and if Republicans have their way, millions across the country. Voting is the most basic building block of our democracy, but because they fear losing, Republicans would rather prevent people from voting than to adapt their ideas to the modern world which they inhabit and win votes and elections by honest means. The GOP can continue to sound the alarm on the phantom of voter fraud, but one of their own has publicly revealed their true intentions. They are just as dishonorable as we all suspected.
Follow Mychal Denzel Smith on Twitter at @mychalsmith