BY JOE SHAHEELI/Â This week an injunction was imposed by the Commonwealth Court eliminating proper Voter Photo IDs as a prerequisite for voting in this presidential election. But thanks to the voter-ID-bill controversy, more Democrats made the registration rosters with proper photo IDs than would have been thought possible.
That is because an alarm at disenfranchisement was sounded loud and often by City Commission Chair Stephanie Singer, who told the courts she was laying blame for voter disenfranchisement on the shoulders of the Commonwealthâ€™s Dept. of State, the agency entrusted with overseeing all elections. â€œItâ€™s clear,â€ she stated, â€œif anyone was to be disenfranchised by voter ID on Nov. 6, the fault was with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, not with the citizens of Philadelphia, who have stepped up in large numbers to spread the word and help neighbors get their IDs.â€
In reality, it was Singer and her Deputy Commissioners who stepped up to the task of alerting all Philadelphians to the realization thousands could be disenfranchised. The efforts of her office sent off ripples throughout County Commissions around the state. They have followed suit, attending meetings, answering questions and offering registration help.
Her leadership efforts and her court testimony convinced Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson the state could not prove in-person voter fraud was widespread nor had helped register those needing IDâ€™s. Now voters need not show a valid photo ID at the polls, just for this election.
However, all provisions of this bill do become the law of the land and will be in force for all subsequent elections. An official tally of the efforts of Singerâ€™s office staff show over 1,100 meetings had one or more of them in attendance. They were there to give credence to the fact the voter photo-ID requirement now on the election lawbooks necessitated a major outreach effort to voters, who could possibly be excluded from voting, though they have a history of continually casting their votes in elections.
The majority or these were meetings held in various communities around the city, with 68 of them sponsored by faith-based groups. They also attended at least nine major rallies called by elected officials from the City and State legislative bodies. Deputy Commissioner Dennis Lee estimates, â€œWe have touched, based on our face-to-face events, over 33,000 people thus far.â€
City Commissioner Anthony Clark, whose office was just as active as Singerâ€™s in getting the message out to those needing voter photo IDs, said, â€œJudge Simpsonâ€™s ruling is win for the voters of Philadelphia.Â He has restored the rights of hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania voters who were in jeopardy of being disenfranchised.â€ Clark had earlier voiced concerns over the validity of the voter-ID law, saying, â€œThere have been no known cases where voter impersonationÂ was being used to impugn the integrityÂ of the process in Philadelphia. The Secretary of the Commonwealth testified to not really knowing what the bill said and the complete impact it had.Â These revelations helped persuade Judge Simpson to place an injunction on the bill. Voters will be able to go to the polls this election without the stipulated voter photo ID.â€
Singer sounded the alarm almost immediately after the passage of voter photo-ID legislation and was joined by Clark. Her reason goes back to 1965, â€œwhen my father went to Mississippi to protect my fellow Americans as they registered to vote. He gave me a gift that has lasted my whole life long. He gave me my country, my America, my democracy. One of the things that makes America so strong is how different we all are. I live in one American community, with my language, my music, my ambitions, and my beliefs; you live in a different community with your language, your music, your ambitions and your beliefs. Weâ€™re different, and weâ€™re all Americans together.
â€œVoting makes that unity possible amid our diversity. Democracy means each group of us has the opportunity to demand attention and resources from our government. The more your group votes, the more attention and resources you command. Thatâ€™s how power works in democracy, and thatâ€™s how it is supposed to work. When we all have access to power, we can live together and build a country together without riots, even when we disagree vehemently.
â€œThere are folks in this country who would prefer a different kind of system, a government by only some of the people, for only some of the people. The purpose of the voter-ID law is to suppress the votes, and therefore the power, of certain Americans. The law itself is a fraudulent attempt to change the outcome of an election, a fraud perpetrated with taxpayer dollars. Every patriotic American should stand up and defend our country, my country, from this attack on democracy.
â€œAnyone who thinks that this law is about protecting election integrity should please come speak with me about effective, responsible ways to ensure that our elections are free and fair.â€
WHY WASTE TIME IN PENNSYLVANIA?
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney may not be in synch with his campaign team and the polls. The team has held back advertising for votes in Pennsylvania and the polls show Obama has a widening lead. If so, why did the candidate arrive in Philadelphia last Thursday evening, staying through Friday, scheduling major speeches at a Union League breakfast and at noon at Valley Forge Military Academy?
Was it to raise funds? He did meet a slew of top Republicans and raise big bucks.
They had to hear from him reasons to do so. Was it an exercise in futility; or was information given to them, not privy to us?
While here, Romney unleashed a hornetâ€™s nest as Gov. Ed Rendell, Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, and Congressman Bob Brady blasted back with a press conference discussing Romneyâ€™s comments writing off nearly half the country at a closed-door fundraiser in May, and his belief that itâ€™s â€œfairâ€ for middle-class Americans to pay a higher tax rate than he does.
CLINTON KEEPS ON MERCHANDISING
A closeup picture of President Bill Clinton is hard to come by. Our Contributing Editor Bonnie Squires pulled off this coup â€“ but it was a struggle. She even had her camera confiscated for a while â€“ despite the fact she was a paid attendee at Democrat Attorney General aspirant Kathleen Kaneâ€™s gala fundraiser at the Radisson Plaza-Warwick Hotel Monday night.
Why the tight security? Itâ€™s not uncommon at high-roller fundersâ€™ affairs in both parties. One reason is some major donors donâ€™t want the publicity of being seen at events with high price tags.
Clinton is a special case, though. As the Demsâ€™ superstar surrogate on the campaign circuit, his picture is literally worth money. One of his jobs is to take pictures with attendees. These pix are later shared with attendees â€“ as â€œchachkesâ€, in return for handsome contributions.
OBAMA HAS STAR POWER AMONG WOMEN
Mitt Romney has the look of being everyoneâ€™s stern father or grandfather. President Barack Obama looks like he would be more-pleasant company on a date. Maybe that is the reason the President enjoys a double-digit lead over Romney with women voters.
So the question to women readers is, â€œdoes the worry over the depressed economy enter into their election decisions?â€
The youth unemployment rate for 18-29-year-old African Americans for August 2012 is 22.4%; the youth unemployment rate for 18-29-year-old Hispanics for August 2012 is 13.7%; and the youth unemployment rate for 18-29-year-old women for August 2012 is 12.6%. The President leads 56-38% among women and 94-2% among Black voters, according to the independent Quinnipiac University poll. It also found men back Romney 52-42% while white voters back the Republican 53-42%. Independent voters are divided, with 47% for Romney and 45% for Obama.
COLLEGE FACULTY GROUP ENDORSES DUNBAR IN 177TH
William F. Dunbar has been endorsed by the Association of Pennsylvania State College & University Faculties, an organization designed to work with student and faculty interests in mind while providing the highest-quality education at an affordable cost.
â€œThe condition surrounding the state of education in Pennsylvania is of the utmost importance to me,â€ says Dunbar, who has previously held a leadership role with Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-Phila.) on the CORE Philly Scholarship Program and was the director of children and youth programs at United Communities Southeastern Philadelphia.
Steve Hicks, the president of APSCUF, praised Dunbarâ€™s priority to restore higher-education funding in the state of Pennsylvania, saying, â€œHe will be a true advocate for public higher education.â€
ETHICS COMMISSION ELECTS OFFICERS
John J. Bolger has assumed the office of chairman of the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission, and Donald M. McCurdy was elected as the Commissionâ€™s Vice Chairman. Bolger has served on the State Ethics Commission since 1998, when he was appointed by Gov. Thomas J. Ridge and reappointed by the Hon. Mark Schweiker.
The State Ethics Commissionâ€™s duty is to administer and enforce the provisions of the State Public Official and Employee Ethics Law, Act 170 of 1978.
COMMONWEALTH CLUB TO HOST CORBETT
The Commonwealth Club is looking for a big turnout to honor Gov. Tom Corbett at its Philadelphia Marriott Westâ€™s Skybox in W. Conshohocken on Wednesday, Oct. 24, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. RSVP is required at (71) 234-4901.
KANE DRAWS FIRE OVER ENDORSEMENT
Fresh off from an endorsement by Philadelphiaâ€™s top safety officials â€“ DA Seth Williams, FOPâ€™s John McNesby and Sheriff Jewell Williams â€“ Democrat candidate for Attorney General Kathleen Kane is drawing fire.
State Republican Party Chairman Rob Gleason said, â€œThe fact Kathleen Kane has built her candidacy for Pennsylvaniaâ€™s top law-enforcement position on a campaign of deception and misrepresentation should alarm all voters who care about the integrity of the Attorney Generalâ€™s office. Kaneâ€™s latest stunt, where she boasted about the Pennsylvaniaâ€™s State Troopersâ€™ endorsement that she actually didnâ€™t receive, sheds more light on the fact sheâ€™ll do anything to win, regardless of the fact that sheâ€™s the least-qualified candidate for the Attorney Generalâ€™s office.â€
In turn, Kane is suing GOP for what she charges are lying television ads. A whoâ€™s who of current and former DAs joined the Democrat Attorney General nominee, calling upon Corbett and Freed to take it off the air.
VAUGHAN LOSES P.R. DIRECTOR
Christina Brusallis, who handled communications chores for GOP candidate for State Treasurer Diana Irey Vaughan, has returned to the private sector. Christina has been with the campaign since the very beginning.
Jason Fitzgerald, the campaign manager, and Caitlin Collins will be handling all media requests.
Diana Irey Vaughan is a five-term Washington Co. Commissioner, wife to a soldier who recently returned home from Afghanistan, mother of three children. First elected in 1995, Diana is the only woman to ever serve as Washington Co. Commissioner.
CITY STILL LOW ON CORBETT’S RADAR
Philadelphia still scores low with the Governor, as only three of its citizens were among 28 appointments and nominations made by Corbett to various agencies around the Commonwealth this week. The three are attorney Linda Kerns to State Board of Nursing, attorney Cristina Cavalieri to State Transportation Commission and Jeffrey Runge to the Cosmetic Board.
The paucity of Philly appointments continues.
JOHNSON GOES WITH BLOG RADIO
Anthony Johnson, former candidate, author, and school founder, is hosting a weekly show on youtube/CO57ABAvBY8 every Thursday at 9 p.m. Itâ€™s a forum for politics and anything else his viewers wish to discuss. For information, call him at (247) 308 8613.