I am not wealthy, but have recently acquired twenty two domiciles throughout Philadelphia. My real estate prowess has afforded me a unique opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our citizens.
I can vote twenty two times.
You see, I have staked out prime locations, from a cardboard box under the Walt Whitman Bridge to a culvert on Cobbs Creek Parkway to a burnt out shell at 7th and Diamond. Yes, technically, habitating at these locations makes me "homeless," but I much prefer the term "voter-enfranchised." When you have such a love of democracy, how can anyone have a problem with people who want to vote multiple times, especially the homeless? (Although, in fairness, dead people should only be able to vote once).
Incredible as it seems, folks in Pennsylvania don’t have to show any voter identification whatsoever at the polls, with the exception of the first time, in which a non-photo ID, such as a utility bill, is all that is needed. And even that’s a stretch since some politicians ignore the law and permit people, who have never produced identification, to vote. So in Philadelphia, among other places, voters whose "address" is a park bench or condemned house are regularly pulling the lever.
This system has made multiple-voting quite easy, and affords a vote not only to those who aren’t registered, but those not legally permitted to cast a ballot — the nation’s 12 million illegal immigrants, since we aren’t checking citizenship status, either.
Because former Governor Ed Rendell vetoed legislation requiring voters to show proper identification, election fraud remains rampant. By definition, allowing people to vote who are not properly registered is disenfranchising those who play by the rules and cast a ballot the right way. Bottom line: every illegal vote nullifies one made by a law-abiding citizen.
And make no mistake. It has gotten so out-of-hand that illegal immigrants are voting in large numbers throughout the country. Think about that — citizens from other countries are quite possibly deciding the outcomes of American elections.
One only has to look to Florida in 2000 to see a real-world example. President Bush won by a mere 537 votes out of 5.8 million cast. As Governor of Texas, the Spanish-speaking Bush had always been popular with Hispanics, particularly Florida’s Cubans. Given that Florida has a large illegal immigration population, it is not unrealistic to think that at least 537 illegals voted for Bush over Al Gore—the difference in determining the Presidency of the United States. But since we have so many "sanctuary cities"—places where it is prohibited to ask one’s immigration/citizenship status— there is no way to determine who is an American citizen, let alone who is validly registered.
Rendell’s rationale for vetoing the bill was that it would have created voting problems for the homeless, the poor, displaced victims of natural disasters, and those without access to valid ID. And now that another Voter ID bill is working its way through the legislature — this time with a solid shot at becoming law given Gov. Tom Corbett’s support— we are hearing the same old arguments.
Here’s a question. How many natural disasters hit the Keystone State? And even if one does, how does that obviate the need for an ID?
As far as access to an ID, it is really so excruciatingly difficult to produce a passport, driver’s license, or employee, government or student photo identification? Getting past the rhetoric, it has yet to be shown how a voter identification requirement negatively affects students, the disabled, and, as the ACLU puts it, "disproportionately impacts the elderly, the working poor, and racial minorities."
Since identification requirements would apparently discourage people from voting, thereby "disenfranchising" them, here’s a solution: let’s have no rules at all. That way, at least no one will be offended….well, except law-abiding Americans. But hey, what do they matter, since they’re the only major constituency with no rights.
Buzzwords like "voter disenfranchisement" aside, the Pennsylvania Voter Identification Protection Act, sponsored by State Representative Daryl Metcalfe, is long overdue legislation with which an overwhelming number of voters agree. What could be easier and more common sense that simply documenting who you claim to be when participating in the most fundamental American right?
The true motivations of those opposed are painfully obvious: the vast majority of non-registered voters have Democratic leanings. They have become an integral part of the Democratic base, and as such, their voting process must be obstacle-free if the Party is to grow.
Translation: when you can’t legitimately win at the ballot box, go to Plan B — steal the election.
Welcome to the Banana Republic of Pennsylvania.
It’s a shame there hasn’t been a meaningful debate on this. But rather than discuss the Voter ID bill on its merits, the Left has chosen to throw out inflammatory accusations of "voter disenfranchisement."
At one point in our history, Americans were subjected to discriminatory treatment which truly disenfranchised them, such as being required to pay poll taxes and take literacy tests. Thankfully, such practices have been rescinded, and comparing an ID bill to what our ancestors experienced is a downright insult to those who fought for the right to vote.
And as long as we’re on the subject of voting reforms, maybe an amendment to the Voter ID bill could be offered that would eliminate the option of single-lever voting. Pulling just one lever is far too easy, and takes the thinking out of voting — which is, obviously, never a good thing.
Americans have become far too complacent when it comes to voting and, as a result, we are reaping the consequences of our corrupted system. Good policy should never come down to just a "Democrat" or "Republican" one-second pull of a lever. Instead, making citizens vote for individual over Party may yet inspire them to take a more avid interest in who will be their representatives.
The American voting system isn’t perfect, and Voter ID laws (which have been ruled constitutional) will go a long way to restoring the integrity so crucial in the power to choose one’s own destiny.
Having no voter identification requirement is a disgraceful blow to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that Americans could enjoy free and fair elections.
In a society where one must show ID to enter office buildings, airplanes, trains or even buy antihistamine at the pharmacy, it is time to give the same level of importance to voting. The current practice — a truly disenfranchising one — must end in order to preserve our hard-earned freedom.
Chris Friend is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigativereporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com
Readers of his column, "Freindly Fire," hail from six continents, thirty countries
and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including
The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick
Morris’ recent bestseller "Catastrophe."
Freind, whose column appears regularly in Philadelphia Magazine and nationally in
Newsmax, also serves as a frequent guest commentator on talk radio and state/national
television, most notably on FOX Philadelphia. He can be reached at [email protected]