Speaking of Voter Suppression

Remember a couple of weeks ago when a Pennsylvania Judge ruled that the new Voter ID law in PA wouldn’t be in effect for the 2012 election cycle?  Me neither!*  And neither does Trib Total Media or their one newspaper, the Mount Pleasant Journal.  First a little background information on the movers and shakers of this story, courtesy of ThinkProgress:

The Mount Pleasant Journal is one of several newspapers run by Trib Total Media, a media conglomerate owned by billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife. Scaife’s foundation donated hundreds of millions of dollars to conservative organizations ranging from the American Enterprise Institution to the Federalist Society, and he currently serves as vice-chairman of the right-wing Heritage Foundation’s board of trustees.

Now ones political views do not remove your ability to publish an unbiased newspaper.  Not every piece of media put out by conservative run companies is destined to lean to the right, but I have first hand experience with Trib Total Media since I read Pittsburgh area newspapers, and it isn’t a secret that the Pittsburgh Tribune Review is basically a print version of Fox News.  You know, “fair” and “balanced”.  *winkwink*  In fact, it is such a known fact that the Tribune Review paid for a television ad campaign  to try and convince people that while their editorials and opinion pages heavily leaned to the right, their actual news department was unbiased.  (Objective News/ Conservative Views or something similar was their tagline.  If anyone can find the ad online, please link it for me.  It used to air during every damn Pirates game.)

And the common knowledge understanding of the Trib’s political leaning causes me to have a really hard time believing this is an honest mistake:

That was from the Mount Pleasant Journal.  Once again from ThinkProgress:

Last Thursday, at least one of Scaife’s newspapers printed an inaccurate story headlined “Photo ID required for November election,” when, in reality, a court order suspended the requirement that Pennsylvania voters show an ID or lose their right to vote.

the claim that voters will need to show ID in order to vote, as well as the claim that voters who do not show ID will be forced to cast a provisional ballot and then show ID later, are entirely false. The state of Pennsylvania is currently bound by a court order which permits voters without ID to cast normal ballots, not provisional ballots, and to have those ballots counted just like any other. Voters will still be asked to show ID at the polls, but may not be turned away or given a provisional ballot because they do not show it.

The Republicans in Pennsylvania pushed through the strictest voter ID law in the nation, admitted that it was a political move that would help Mitt Romney, and put out a multi-million dollar ad campaign to inform voters that they needed an ID to vote.  Once the law was put on hold for this year, the state suddenly seemed to lose interest in informing the public, as several government run websites claimed until last week that you needed ID to vote, and the PA voter information hotline stated that you needed ID to vote until a stafffer at The Rachael Maddow Show called the state and complained.  Even though the law was put on hold because it would have disenfranchised voters, the damage was done with the ad campaign.  And now right leaning newspapers are continuing the disinformation process.

Gov. Corbett and the state government needs to end this confusion and get the word out to all PA voters that they do not need an ID to vote this year.  They were more than willing to spend the money when their pet law was passed, now they need to undo the confusion they caused by trying to force a law like this onto the books in time for this years election.

But I won’t be holding my breath….


*Apologies to Mock, Paper, Scissors.


3 thoughts on “Speaking of Voter Suppression

  1. Ugh. Absolutely disgusting. I’ve been following this a bit on Maddow, and it’s really frightening: it doesn’t matter that they lost in the courts. If they can make people think it’s true, it will suppress the vote.

    BTW, did you read the “yay vote!” tripe that got freshly pressed recently?

    • As a PA resident, I was bombarded by the state with information on the new Voter ID law once it was rammed through the legislature. During the legal fight over the law, my government admitted that in person voter fraud was non-existent in PA yet still used every tactic available to make sure the law was in effect for this years election. Near the end of the fight, when it was becoming apparent that not everyone who needed one would be able to get an approved ID and that the law was going to be struck down or put on hold, the state flirted with relaxing the requirements to obtain an ID to the point that security would have been threatened and the legality was being questioned, just so the law would stay in place. This law and informing voters about it was priority number one, a solution in search of a problem, that became a back burner issue once put on hold.

      The state of Pennsylvania’s handling of this issue is nothing short of criminal.

      I will be volunteering on election day in minority communities, making sure people know that they do not need an ID to vote. It isn’t just the misinformation that is already out there that I am worried about either, poll worker confusion and the possible activities of outside groups like True the Vote could turn this election into a nightmare.

      And no, I haven’t read the “yay vote!” tripe. Got a link? Now I’m curious.

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