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“Subsidized By Taxpayers”: Pennsylvania Makes It Even Harder To Vote

Pennsylvania has gotten a lot of attention recently for its new restrictive voter ID law which was just affirmed by a state judge this week. However, that’s not the only barrier to voting that the Keystone State has imposed recently.

On Wednesday, Pennsylvania suddenly reversed course on implementing a system that allows voters to register and sign up for absentee ballots on the Internet. In an email, a state official said implementing the new system before the November election would be too difficult. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, this news came as a shock to the top elections official in Philadelphia, that state’s largest municipality.

In contrast, New York unveiled its new online system for voter registration this week, just before the voter registration deadline for the state’s September primaries. This was not thought to present any additional complications.

Online voter registration, which is now available in 13 states, does make it mildly easier for people to register to vote. But that’s not the only benefit. It also saves a lot of money.

The data from handwritten voter registration and absentee ballot forms has to be manually entered into computers. This takes time and costs money (not to mention creates a lot of potential for error). A form filled out on a computer can be directly input into a state’s voter database. There are estimates that New York’s law would lead to taxpayers saving at least $250,000 a year as a result.

The decision by Pennsylvania to hold off implementing its online system until after November is bad enough because it may make it more difficult for some to register and to vote. But the fact that this additional obstacle to voting will be subsidized by taxpayers makes it even worse.

 

By: Ben Jacobs, Washington Monthly Political Animal, August 18, 2012

August 19, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012, Voting Rights | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“A Blatant Attempt To Mislead”: Romney Falsely Accuses Obama Campaign Of Trying To Restrict Military Voting Rights

Mitt Romney attacked a lawsuit brought by President Obama’s campaign seeking the restoration of early voting rights for Ohio voters by falsely implying that Obama is trying to take away the early voting privileges for members of the military.

“President Obama’s lawsuit claiming it is unconstitutional for Ohio to allow servicemen and women extended early voting privileges during the state’s early voting period is an outrage,” Romney said in a statement Saturday.

Actually, the Obama campaign’s lawsuit, filed by the campaign in mid-July, explicitly asks a federal court to restore in-person early voting rights to all eligible Ohio voters on the three days preceding Election Day.

The suit does not seek to prevent members of the military from voting in person during that period, rather it seeks to force Ohio to give other voters (including, for instance, cops and firefighters) the same opportunity to vote.

Romney said in the statement that as president he would “work to protect the voting rights of our military, not undermine them.” He said that members of the military “make tremendous sacrifices to protect and defend our freedoms, and we should do everything we can to protect their fundamental right to vote.”

The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TPM on whether he believes cops and firefighters should also be allowed to vote in the three days before the election.

Obama’s campaign is fighting back, calling Romney’s statement a “blatant attempt to mislead” voters.

“This lawsuit seeks to treat all Ohio citizens equally under the law,” Obama for America attorney Bob Bauer said in a statement. “We want to restore the right of all to vote before Election Day.”

Under the Obama administration, the Justice Department has filed 10 lawsuits and reached nine settlements with various states to protect military voters under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA).

Late update: Obama for America Veterans and Military Family Vote Director Rob Diamond issued this statement:

“Mitt Romney and his campaign have completely fabricated a claim that the Obama campaign is trying to restrict military voting in Ohio. In fact, the opposite is true: the Obama campaign filed a lawsuit to make sure every Ohioan, including military members and their families, has early voting rights over the last weekend prior to the election. The case filed with the court could not be clearer on this point. The real story of what is happening in the Buckeye State is that Mitt Romney supports the Republican effort to stop people from voting by restricting their access to the polls. In 2008, more than 93,000 Ohioans utilized early voting in the three days before the election. In complete disregard of the will of Ohio voters expressed last year through the referendum process, the Republican legislature is attempting to remove from the vast majority of voters — including veterans of our armed services — the early voting rights they enjoyed in 2008. This latest Republican attack on rights of voters is shameful — and so is Mitt Romney’s endorsement of it.”

 

By: Ryan J. Reilly, Talking Points Memo, August 4, 2012

August 6, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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