Pennsylvania’s Shameful Record of Voter Suppression and the Partisan and Sometimes Racially Charged Motivations of Those Administering Its Elections
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In Pennsylvania, political figures—from statewide elected officials and state legislators to county commissioners—have introduced voter suppression policies that make it increasingly difficult for minority voters to exercise their rights to vote. The motivation behind these efforts often has been admittedly partisan with some officials expressing the political benefit of restricting access to the ballot.
The partisan motivations behind efforts in Pennsylvania to suppress the vote received nationwide media attention during the summer leading up to the 2012 presidential election when the state’s then house majority leader Mike Turzai bragged at a Republican meeting that the Keystone State’s new voter ID law was “going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”
Research has shown that voter suppression policies, such as forcing residents to show identification before casting a ballot and requiring documentary proof of U.S. citizenship in order to register to vote, disproportionately affect minority voters, senior citizens, the disabled, and low-income voters.
While politicians tout voter fraud as the rationale behind such restrictive policies, in reality there is no evidence of widespread fraudulent voting taking place in Pennsylvania or in any other state. Even while defending its controversial voter ID law in court, the state could not point to one instance of voter fraud. However, Pennsylvania officials who advocate for voter suppression policies have expressed political motivations for disenfranchising voters who are more likely to vote Democratic.
Voter suppression policies have been and continue to be introduced by Pennsylvania legislators, who, after multiple attempts, passed a controversial voter ID bill in 2012 that was signed into law by former Governor Tom Corbett. The voter ID law—which Republican officials admitted was passed for political reasons—was eventually struck down in 2014 after a messy implementation period.
This report examines recent voter suppression initiatives in Pennsylvania to shed light on the players behind these efforts and the problematic partisan motivations that shape their decisions. It focuses on the state legislators who have been integral in pushing voter suppression policies, as well as the partisan and racially charged rhetoric that these officials sometimes use. It also scrutinizes county officials who have disenfranchised voters at the local level. Additionally, this report examines influential voter suppression groups with strong partisan ties currently working in Pennsylvania to disenfranchise minority voters. This report aims to provide an overview of current voter suppression issues in Pennsylvania, as well as the political actors behind them, in order to combat ongoing attacks on voting rights in the Keystone State.
Voter Suppression in Pennsylvania
Voter Restrictions in Pennsylvania
Voter Identification Requirements
Pennsylvanians are not currently required to show an ID each time they vote. They are, however, required to show valid identification—photo or non-photo—when they vote for the first time in an election district. 
Accepted forms of photo identification include:
- Pennsylvania Driver’s License or PennDOT ID Card
- ID Issued by any Commonwealth Agency
- ID Issued by the U.S. Government
- U.S. Passport
- U.S. Armed Forces ID
- Student ID
- Employee ID
Accepted forms of non-photo identification include:
- Voter Registration Card Issued by the County Voter Registration Office
- Non-Photo ID issued by the Commonwealth
- Non-Photo ID issued by the U.S. Government
- Non-Photo ID issued by Any Agency of the Commonwealth or U.S. Government
- Firearm Permit
- Current Utility Bill
- Current Bank Statement
- Government Check
The Pennsylvania General Assembly passed a strict law in 2012 requiring voters to show a photo ID in order to vote. The law, however, was never fully implemented and was struck down in 2014.
It should be noted that photo ID laws have been shown to disproportionately affect minority, elderly, disabled, and low-income voters, all of whom face greater obstacles obtaining identification. A study conducted by political scientists at the University of California at San Diego analyzed voter turnout between 2008 and 2012 and found “substantial drops in turnout for minorities under strict voter ID laws.” Obtaining a photo ID can be costly and the bureaucratic process can be especially difficult for low-income and elderly voters who may not have birth certificates because they were born at home instead of in a hospital. In fact, “more than 21 million Americans do not have government-issued photo identification [and] a disproportionate number of [them] are low-income, racial and ethnic minorities, and elderly” voters.
Election Administration Issues
Absentee Voting in Pennsylvania
When Pennsylvania passed its controversial voter ID law in 2012, several county elections officials responded to voter concerns by suggesting that voters without valid IDs simply cast absentee ballots. However, unlike many states, Pennsylvania does not have no-excuse absentee voting. To apply for an absentee ballot, voters must attest that they are unable to vote in-person on Election Day, and must choose from a list of accepted reasons why they are requesting an absentee ballot.
Early Voting in Pennsylvania
Although thirty-seven states in the country offer some kind of early voting, Pennsylvania offers no period of early voting whatsoever. Early voting, especially Sunday voting, has been shown to make voting more accessible, particularly for minority voters. In states with early voting, minority voters have utilized it at greater rates than white voters.
Early voting measures repeatedly have been introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature but have yet to pass. In 2015, at least three measures to establish early voting in the state were introduced. In 2013, Rep. Mike Schlossberg introduced a bill that would establish early voting, pointing out that, “Pennsylvania makes it as hard as possible for you to vote.” An editorial in the Scranton Times-Tribune praised the effort, noting that it “would help older people who can’t wait in line on Election Day due to health reasons, workers who must juggle their schedules to vote, students and untold others with variable schedules.”
Purging the Voter Rolls
Under Pennsylvania law, inactive voters (registered voters who have not voted for five consecutive years) will be purged from the voter rolls if they do not vote in either of the next two federal elections, or if they fail to contact their voter registration office during that time.
To make purging the voter rolls easier, Pennsylvania participates in the Interstate Crosscheck program, managed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, an anti-immigration activist notorious for promoting voter suppression policies across the country. Crosscheck is a master list of almost seven million “potential double voters” that has been criticized as highly inaccurate. Upon joining Crosscheck in 2013, former secretary of the commonwealth Carol Aichele called the program an important tool “to make sure only legally registered individuals vote.”
Crosscheck consolidates voter information from participating states for cross-reference with the goal of identifying voters who may be voting illegally in multiple states. The program, however, has been criticized for its inaccuracy after flagging millions of mismatched potential double-voters. The program often flags voters based on only first and last names, ignoring middle names, suffixes, and birthdates. In cases where voter information includes the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, those numbers are purposely ignored, increasing the number of erroneous matches. Critics of the program also have noted that Crosscheck flags minority voters at disproportionate rates.
Crosscheck’s standard bearer, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, has ties to Pennsylvania. The lawyer and anti-immigration activist helped craft and defend an ordinance passed in the City of Hazleton that fined landlords $1,000 a day for renting to undocumented immigrants and revoked the business permits of employers who hired them. Hazleton is located in Luzerne County which has faced its own voter suppression issues over the years. In the 2012 general election, Luzerne County poll workers improperly turned away from the polls more than twenty registered voters and the county Board of Elections rejected 283 provisional ballots.
Pennsylvania’s Controversial Voter ID Efforts
Although Pennsylvania voters are currently required to show identification at the polls when first-time voting in an election district, Pennsylvania passed an even stricter voter ID law in 2012 requiring voters show an accepted photo ID in order to vote. The bill, which Republican officials admitted was politically motivated, faced a rocky implementation process and was ultimately struck down by a state judge in 2014.
Controversial Voter ID Bill Signed into Law in 2012
In March 2012 former governor Tom Corbett signed into law a voter ID bill that was widely criticized as a tactic to disenfranchise minority voters in Pennsylvania. The law, which the Associated Press described as “one of the nation’s toughest voter ID laws,” at the time, required voters to show a photo ID before being allowed to cast their ballots.
The bill was introduced by controversial State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe. Even after the bill faced legal defeat, Metcalfe said that he would “continue advocating for voter photo identification and other measures to ensure that voters are not disenfranchised by the forces of corruption.”
Under the law, many “government employee photo IDs would be acceptable, as would student IDs from colleges and universities in Pennsylvania and IDs for people who live in elder-care institutions in the state, as long as they show a name, photo and expiration date that makes them current.”
Although the voter ID law was eventually overturned, Republicans in the Pennsylvania General Assembly have repeatedly introduced strict voter ID bills, both before and after the failed 2012 law. Even since the voter ID law was overturned, new voter ID laws have been introduced in the legislature.
Criticism of the 2012 Voter ID Law
Pennsylvania’s voter ID law was widely opposed by a range of groups in the state, including “unions, counties, civil liberties advocates, good government advocates, the AARP, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.” Opponents of the law argued that it would disenfranchise minority, low-income, and elderly voters, who sometimes lack photo IDs and the documents, such as birth certificates, to obtain them. They also pointed to the difficult, bureaucratic process of obtaining an ID for low-income, elderly, and disabled voters.
Pennsylvania’s substantial Amish and Mennonite population, many of whom have religious objections to being photographed, also faced problems with the state’s voter ID law, due to the multiple and intrusive forms required to obtain an accepted non-photo ID for religious reasons.
Although former Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele repeatedly asserted that 99 percent of Pennsylvania voters already had a required photo ID to vote, after the bill was signed into law, the Pennsylvania Department of State released data that showed that over 758,000 registered voters—or 9.2 percent of voters—did not have photo IDs from the Department of Transportation.
Partisan Motivations Behind the 2012 Voter ID Law
The voter ID law was criticized for being introduced for the partisan purpose of helping Republicans in Pennsylvania’s competitive presidential elections. The bill passed the state legislature largely along party lines, with every Democrat in the Pennsylvania Senate, along with three Republicans, voting against it.
Several Pennsylvania Republicans credited the voter ID law for helping their party in the 2012 presidential election. Although supporters of voter ID cited potential voter fraud as the motivation behind the law, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania could not point to a single instance of voter fraud while later defending the law in court.
The summer before the election Rep. Mike Turzai, then the Pennsylvania house majority leader, bragged at a Republican meeting that the state’s new voter ID law “is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.” Turzai’s comments made it onto YouTube and were roundly criticized by Democratic legislators, who pointed to the statement as evidence of the partisan motivations behind the voter ID law.
“Mr. Turzai’s statement is the smoking gun,” said State Sen. Daylin Leach at a press conference held by a group of Democratic legislators. “This was not about stopping any voter fraud. This was part of a national effort by the Republican Party to pass laws disenfranchising large numbers of voters who tend to vote Democratic.”
After the 2012 election, Pennsylvania Republican Party Chairman Rob Gleason credited the voter ID law for helping Romney in the state’s presidential election. When asked if he thought the voter ID law had helped his party, Gleason responded, “Yeah, I think a little bit. We probably had a better election. Think about this, we cut Obama by 5 percent, which was big. A lot of people lost sight of that. He won, he beat McCain by 10 percent, he only beat Romney by 5 percent. I think that probably Voter ID had helped a bit in that.”
Rocky Rollout and Failed Implementation
Pennsylvania’s strict voter ID legislation was signed into law in March 2012, but in October of the same year a judge ruled the law could not take effect for the following month’s election. Although it was never technically enforced, the implementation process of the voter ID law was so long and misleading that it disenfranchised voters all the same before being repealed in 2014.
Expensive and Misleading Media Campaign
After signing the bill into law, Governor Tom Corbett’s administration signed a nearly $250,000 contract with the Bravo Group, run by Republican fundraiser and former Pennsylvania GOP Executive Director Chris Bravacos, to educate voters about the new voter ID law through a media campaign.
The state continued to run ads on voter ID as part of the “soft roll-out,” even after a judge blocked enforcement of the law in October 2012, ahead of the November election. The media campaign technically adjusted its message after the ruling, adding in smaller print, “This Election Day if you have it” to the ad campaign picturing a Pennsylvania driver’s license with the tagline, “Show It.” However, Witold Walczak, the legal director of the Pennsylvania ACLU, called the ads “incredibly misleading.” He asserted, “There’s no question in my mind that it’s going to promote confusion and it’s going to lead to people who have every right to vote staying home because they don’t have ID.”
As part of their challenge to the voter ID law, a group of voting rights organizations had asked a judge to order Pennsylvania officials to stop distributing false and misleading information about the requirement of voter ID in the upcoming 2012 election. The groups noted that thousands of senior citizens had received an official state mailing declaring that photo identification was required on Election Day, and that some Pennsylvania Department of Transportation locations were displaying outdated posters stating that photo ID was required in order to vote. “The radio silence from the commonwealth about the abrupt change in voting requirements . . . and the failure to affirmatively correct six months of what is now false information about the need to have photo ID on Nov. 6 is indefensible, and reasonably likely to disenfranchise voters without photo ID who have been led to believe they cannot vote and thus are likely not to bother trying,” the groups said in their filing.
As the voter ID law remained tied up in the courts, Pennsylvania’s Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, in October 2013, called the state’s plan to run additional television TV ads, for an additional $1 million, a waste of money. In their efforts to implement the controversial voter ID requirement, Pennsylvania spent $5 million in federal funds received under the Help America Vote Act, and $1 million in state funds to educate voters on the law.
Other Voter Misinformation
Additional examples of the distribution of inaccurate information to voters were reported leading up to the 2012 election. A mailing to thirty-four thousand retired Philadelphia city workers, for example, stated inaccurately that voters were required to show a photo ID to vote. Brian Abernathy, chief of staff to the city’s managing director, defended the decision to send the inaccurate mailing: “We wanted to encourage people to get the ID if they needed it,” he said. “Do we do the mailing and take a risk, or do we lose the opportunity to reach a large number of people who would be impacted? We decided that more information for voters was better. . . . It was a conscious decision to take the risk.”
In an even more pervasive dissemination of misinformation, PECO, Pennsylvania’s largest utility company, sent a newsletter to 1.3 million customers advising them that they would need to present a valid photo ID in order to vote in the upcoming election, which customers received after the court ruled that the law would not be in effect. PECO blamed the print and mailing time of the newsletter for the error.
Confusion Among Pennsylvania Officials Led to More Voter Suppression
The voter ID law spent nearly two years in relative limbo. Photo IDs were never technically required to vote in any Pennsylvania elections, but the state circulated ambiguous to downright misleading information about the law for almost two years.
The Advancement Project released a report that found that the voter ID requirement could prevent nearly one in six Latino voters in Pennsylvania from voting. One of the major problems, the group noted, was that Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) staff had not been properly trained to process voter IDs. Miguel Concepcion, chairman of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Congress of Puerto Rican Rights, stated, “Whether or not you get voter ID depends on what [PennDOT] office you visit and what day of the week you go.”
On Election Day in 2012, poll workers around the state were instructed to ask for photo IDs but to allow eligible voters to vote even without one, as the law was not in effect. But polling places in Montgomery, Delaware, Butler, and Crawford Counties, for example, posted signs that said voters were required to show photo ID at the polls. More troubling, voters in Philadelphia, as well as Montgomery and Delaware Counties, reported that they were forced to cast provisional ballots when they did not show an ID.
Legal Challenge and Eventual Voting Rights Victory
Pennsylvania’s strict voter ID law faced a long legal challenge that eventually led to it being struck down in January 2014. Less than two months after Governor Tom Corbett signed the bill into law, a group of ten registered voters, represented by voting and civil rights groups, including the League of Women Voters and the NAACP, filed a lawsuit challenging the voter ID law, arguing that it violated the state’s constitution.
“Many otherwise qualified voters will face great difficulty or be unable to obtain the necessary ID and will therefore be disenfranchised in the upcoming general election and future elections,” the lawsuit argued. “As a result, far from protecting the integrity of Pennsylvania elections, the photo ID law will lead to elections that are no longer free and equal.”
Voter ID Blocked from Taking Effect in 2012 Election
In August 2012, Judge Robert E. Simpson, Jr. a Republican who had just been elected to a ten-year term on the Commonwealth Court, ruled against the plaintiffs challenging the voter ID law. Simpson decided that the plaintiffs failed to establish that “disenfranchisement was immediate or inevitable” and found that “halting the process now would interfere with election machinery now [sic] in motion to prepare for the Nov. 6 vote.”
Simpson’s ruling was swiftly appealed by opponents of the voter ID law. In a filing with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the plaintiffs argued that the lower court decision had applied the wrong legal standard while assessing the potential harm of the law.
Only seven weeks before the November 2012 election, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a divided decision, ordering Judge Simpson, who had previously upheld the voter ID law, to decide whether the state was in fact providing “liberal access” to photo ID cards, as intended by the legislature.
One of the two jurists who dissented in the 4-2 decision, Justice Seamus McCaffery, acknowledged the partisan motivations for hurrying to implement the voter ID law before the 2012 presidential election, even pointing to Rep. Mike Turzai’s statement that it would help Mitt Romney carry the state. McCaffery wrote, “It is clear to me that the reason for the urgency of implementing Act 18 prior to the November 2012 election is purely political.”
Voting rights advocates achieved a temporary victory with Judge Simpson’s second ruling on the voter ID bill. The court upheld the law but blocked it from taking full effect for the 2012 presidential election. Instead, the election would be like the earlier April primary, when voters were asked to show a photo ID, but were allowed to vote without one. While the decision was largely praised by voting rights advocates, one attorney for the plaintiffs noted that the decision could cause “confusion on Election Day,” which turned out to be true.
Voter ID Struck Down in Pennsylvania
The legal challenge to Pennsylvania’s voter ID law continued even after the 2012 presidential election. After agreeing that the law still would not apply to the upcoming 2013 primaries, Judge Simpson stepped down from the ongoing litigation, handing it over to his colleague, Judge Bernard McGinley. McGinley barred the state from enforcing the law for the November 2013 election, also ruling that the state could not require elections officials to verbally inform voters that IDs may be required to vote in future elections, although it could distribute written materials on the law.
Pennsylvania’s voter ID law was finally struck down in January 2014, after almost two years of hanging in virtual limbo, never officially being enforced but nonetheless causing confusion for voters. In his decision, Judge McGinley ruled that the law imposed an unreasonable burden on voters and that the state failed to demonstrate a need for it. “As a constitutional prerequisite, any voter ID law must contain a mechanism for ensuring liberal access to compliant photo ID’s so that the requirement . . . does not disenfranchise valid voters,” Judge McGinley wrote in his decision. “Voting laws are designed to assure a free and fair election; the Voter ID Law does not further this goal.”
After a denied request from his administration to reconsider the rule, Governor Tom Corbett said he would not pursue an appeal in the case. In addition to the millions of dollars spent on media and voter education, Pennsylvania spent at least $943,000 on legal fees defending the law.
Voter Suppression in the Pennsylvania State Legislature
The Pennsylvania General Assembly has been at the forefront of introducing voter suppression policies in the state. Voter suppression advocates in the legislature paved the way for the voter ID bill that was signed into law by Governor Tom Corbett in 2012. Several Pennsylvania legislators, highlighted here, have advocated for controversial policies in the state that make it harder for many residents to vote.
State Representative Daryl Metcalfe
State Representative Daryl Metcalfe is a vocal supporter of voter suppression policies in the Pennsylvania House. Beyond introducing the voter ID bill signed into law in 2012, Metcalfe is a far-right Republican who regularly uses offensive anti-immigrant rhetoric on social media and even has ties to white supremacists.
Metcalfe introduced the voter ID bill signed into law by Governor Tom Corbett in 2012, who said that the law. Even after the bill faced legal defeat, Metcalfe said that he would “continue advocating for voter photo identification and other measures to ensure that voters are not disenfranchised by the forces of corruption.” Previous to the failed voter ID law of 2012, Metcalfe had introduced an equally strict voter ID bill several years earlier, in 2008.
When the 2012 law was challenged by Pennsylvanians who argued that the bureaucratic processes for obtaining an accepted photo ID were too onerous, Metcalfe dismissed their concerns, characterizing those who are unable to get a photo ID as “too lazy.” When Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson ruled that Pennsylvania could not enforce the law for the 2012 presidential election, Metcalfe called Simpson, a Republican, a “judicial activist” whose decision was “skewed in favor of the lazy.” Metcalfe accused Simpson and Governor Corbett—who allowed the state to develop a new type of identification for those who had trouble getting other state IDs—of supporting “the ever-increasing entitlement mentality of those individuals who have no problem living off the fruits of their neighbors’ labor.”
Metcalfe, who promotes himself as “a modern-day Paul Revere” who “just may be the last great hope for those of us who want our borders secured and our immigration laws enforced,” has made illegal immigration one of his primary issues in the legislature. He often uses highly offensive language while discussing the subject and regularly refers to undocumented immigrants as “illegal alien invaders.”
Metcalfe supported Arizona’s controversial S.B. 1070—the 2010 “papers, please” law that was widely criticized as a justification for racial profiling and the harassment of Latinos in Arizona, and that was largely invalidated by lawsuits. He was such a fan of the legislation that he introduced his own bill in 2010 modeled on S.B. 1070. Metcalfe said the purpose of his bill was “to offer every illegal alien residing in Pennsylvania two options, leave immediately or go to jail. Whether you came to steal Pennsylvania jobs or to leech off of our state’s fraud-ridden, ‘close your eyes and verify’ welfare system, once this law is enacted there will be absolutely no economic incentives for you to remain here.”
Metcalfe repeatedly introduced bills that would establish English as the official language of Pennsylvania. Before his 2015 attempt, Metcalfe posted on Facebook, “Tomorrow, I will convene a hearing of the PA House State Government Committee to consider legislation to make English the official language of the Commonwealth. One common language unifies a people which is the reason that liberals oppose English as our official language! The citizens of our state and nation need to unify against those domestic and foreign enemies who are trying to destroy the USA!!”
The hearing did not go smoothly, as Metcalfe was called out on the House floor for having invited Robert Vandervoort, identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a “past and present leader of white nationalist groups.” Metcalfe seemed to defend his invitation and complained that the hearing was unfairly criticized in an e-mail from the SPLC, which identified Vandervoort as an “alleged white supremacist.” Metcalfe noted that “a white nationalist . . . is quite a bit different than a white supremacist. Metcalfe added, “To say somebody is a nationalist and for the independence of their country and a patriot to defending their country is a lot different than saying somebody is a racist.” Metcalfe continued, “For whoever said the man was white to begin with, that person is a racist – tying his skin color to his patriotism and what he stands up for his country.” It should be noted that the SPLC defines white nationalist organizations as those that “espouse white supremacist or white separatist ideologies, often focusing on the alleged inferiority of nonwhites.”
It was not the first time that Metcalfe had been tied to white supremacists. In 2008 he had voted against a symbolic resolution recognizing the 60th annual convention of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community because, “Muslims do not recognize Jesus Christ as God.” Soon after this vote he received a letter nominating him for the “Christian National Soldier” award by a group identifying itself as the White Christian Nation. The letter thanked Mr. Metcalfe “for standing up against the Islamic Muslims, illegal immigrates [sic] and gays that have taken over our country.” Metcalfe issued a statement denouncing the organization, but later said he believed it may have been a hoax by political opponents.
While in the Pennsylvania House Rep. Metcalfe also opposed Domestic Violence Awareness Month, calling it part of “the homosexual agenda” because it recognized male rape victims. He opposed birthright citizenship, which he referred to as “the exploitation of illegal alien babies by illegals to gain access to our nation’s jobs and benefits.” And he also fueled the birther movement in 2011 by introducing a bill that would require candidates for office to provide “proof that the candidate is a natural born citizen.”
State Representative Mike Turzai
State Representative Mike Turzai, Speaker of the Pennsylvania House, made headlines in 2012 when he admitted the partisan motivations behind the state’s controversial voter ID law.
Turzai, a vocal supporter of the voter ID law, initially said that he thought of the suppressive law as nonpartisan. “Why would there be any backlash on that?” he asked reporters. “Everybody thinks it’s common sense.”
He was captured on video saying, “There has been continued evidence that in particular precincts, they’re voting over 100 percent of the registered voters. And it has been established with consistency people are still on the Pennsylvania rolls who have either deceased or moved. Well, we have to make sure that it’s one person, one vote. Everybody who is a citizen of the state of Pennsylvania has the right and the privilege to vote and should be afforded that opportunity to vote. This is about enfranchisement.” Turzai noted that other situations require presenting ID, such as going to his gym, buying a bottle of wine, and buying spray-paint “or other toxic products.”
Several months later, however, Turzai bragged at a Republican meeting that the state’s new voter ID law “is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.” Turzai’s comments made it onto YouTube and were roundly criticized by Democratic legislators, who pointed to the statement as evidence of the partisan motivations behind the voter ID law.
“Mr. Turzai’s statement is the smoking gun,” said Sen. Daylin Leach at a press conference held by a group Democratic legislators. “This was not about stopping any voter fraud. This was part of a national effort by the Republican Party to pass laws disenfranchising large numbers of voters who tend to vote Democratic.”
Even Judge Simpson, a Republican, denounced the “disturbing, tendentious statements by House Majority Leader Michael Turzai” when he rejected the challenge to the voter ID law in August 2012. “Factually, I decline to infer that other members of the General Assembly shared the boastful views of Rep. Turzai without proof that other members were present at the time the statements were made,” Simpson wrote.
State Representative Stephen Bloom
State Representative Stephen Bloom was a vocal supporter of the 2012 voter ID law, both to the press and on social media. In one of his many tweets in support of the law, Bloom said, “Do you like having your vote diluted by fake voters? Me neither. Voter ID = voter protection,” despite the fact that widespread voter fraud has been shown to be nearly nonexistent in Pennsylvania or in any other state.
After the law was struck down, Bloom said he didn’t understand the judge’s decision because the point of the law “was to make sure our elections are fair.” He said he had “trouble understanding why the judge would find that simply requiring that voters demonstrate they are who they say they are could not help to facilitate free and fair elections.” Bloom added, “It’s not over yet. The debate is going to continue on.”
Bloom is a highly partisan Republican who has supported the Tea Party movement. He praised the Tea Party as being a “healthy push” for the Republican Party to get back its core values and principles. “We’ve got to reverse course and rediscover our founding principles,” Bloom said. “It’s time for Americans who are proud of our country to stand up and say so. Maybe that’s what the essence of the Tea Party is.” In September 2009, Bloom traveled to Washington DC for the “Taxpayer March on Washington,” a Tea Party rally hosted by the 9-12 Project (group affiliated with Glenn Beck), Tea Party Patriots, and several other conservative organizations.
Bloom has blamed President Obama for encouraging racial divisions in the country. He was widely criticized for a tweet blaming President Obama for the Baltimore riots, which broke out in response to the death of Freddie Gray, a black man who died while in police custody. Bloom tweeted, in response to the riots, “When you preach a creed of resentment and envy, you reap a harvest of division and destruction. Yes, I’m talking to you, President Obama.” In an interview, Bloom elaborated, “I believe the president’s rhetoric over the last six years has exacerbated many of the tensions within our society and moved us farther away from genuine, mutual respect.” Bloom continued, “My concern is that the overall tone of our American culture has suffered under President Obama’s divisive rhetoric.”
State Representative Will Tallman
State Representative Will Tallman has repeatedly supported voter ID in Pennsylvania. He co-sponsored the 2012 voter ID bill that required a photo ID in order to cast a ballot. After the law was struck down, Tallman introduced another bill that would require voters to show an ID at the polls, although the list of accepted IDs was expanded to the one currently required for voters who vote at new precincts, which includes several non-photo IDs.
Tallman said that requiring voters to show identification at the polls is necessary to prevent voter fraud. “Voter fraud is happening in Pennsylvania and it’s fairly widespread,” he’s quoted as saying.
“Those opposing voter ID are using the argument that there is no voter fraud,” Tallman noted. “However, I myself know that there is. I have seen it with my own eyes.” However, attorneys for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania could not point to a single instance of voter fraud while defending the 2012 voter ID law in court.
Tallman is a highly partisan elected official. At a Tea Party rally in 2010, he suggested a bizarre conspiracy about a military team being assembled to deal with Tea Party members on Election Day. Tallman told the crowd that he had heard on the radio that a “contingency response team” composed of military personnel was being assembled to “take care of any problems during the election” in November. “Based on what you’ve seen on TV, who are they afraid of?” Tallman asked. The crowd responded, “Us!” Another person shouted, “They better be!”
Tallman supported a proposed bill that would extend the enforcement of immigration policy to state and local police. “If they catch somebody in the normal course of their duty and they’re here illegally, they should be able to take care of the immigration law also.” Additionally, he repeatedly introduced legislation that would invalidate any federal regulations on firearms through executive order, citing “recent activity by President Barack Obama” as the impetus for his legislation.
State Representative Dan Moul
State Representative Dan Moul has advocated for voter suppression policies in the Pennsylvania legislature, including co-sponsoring the 2012 voter ID bill that required voters to show a photo ID in order to cast a ballot.
Even before the 2012 bill, however, Moul co-sponsored Rep. Daryl Metcalfe’s 2008 version of voter ID legislation. Citing voter fraud as the reason that voter ID laws were necessary, Moul argued that the legislation would “ensure the integrity of our system of elections” and make “sure that every vote counts and every vote is a legitimate vote.” He also opposed allowing early voting in Pennsylvania, fearing that it would make it easier to cast fraudulent votes: “I think Election Day should be Election Day. Maybe I’m a little old-fashioned,” Moul said.
Moul sponsored a bill in 2013 that would change the system by which Pennsylvania’s twenty electoral votes are awarded. The bill, which would have awarded only two electoral votes to the presidential candidate who won statewide, would have divided the remaining eighteen electoral votes based on congressional districts. The bill was criticized as a way for Pennsylvania Republicans in the General Assembly to take advantage of the state’s gerrymandered districts for political gain.
In addition to supporting voter suppression policies that appear to be politically motivated, Moul also angered minority lawmakers when, shortly after taking office, he questioned the need for the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus after caucus members walked off the House floor to protest inaction on gun violence. “That’s repulsive to me,” Moul said. “I’m insulted, and I wish they would stop. Segregation ended forty to fifty years ago, and they need to leave it back there.” Moul added later, “The way I was raised, I was taught that segregation and discrimination is all in the past. Everyone’s equal and don’t differentiate because of the color of someone’s skin.”
Former Rep. Jewell Williams responded that the caucus exists to give minorities a collective voice in the House, because they still are not always treated fairly, stating bluntly of Moul, “I think he’s insensitive and probably needs to go to cultural-sensitivity training class.” Moul stood by his comments, saying, “I think people appreciate the fact that if I have something to say, I say it.” He continued, “I might hurt a feeling or two along the way, but I say it exactly as I see it.”
Pennsylvania’s Local Election Officials
On The Front Lines of Voter Suppression
In Pennsylvania counties, boards of elections are responsible for administering elections. The boards are generally made up of members of the county commissions. In some counties, members of the board of elections have supported voter suppression efforts that disenfranchised voters. Some also have shared controversial views that cast doubt on their ability to objectively administer elections.
Berks County Board of Elections
Republican members of the Berks County Board of Elections, Commissioners Christian Leinbach and Mark Scott, have supported voter suppression policies in the county.
In 2013, both commissioners supported a controversial effort to reclocate a polling place from a college campus to a location several miles away. Nick Imbesi, the student body president at Kutztown University, along with local Democratic Party officials, argued that moving the polling place off campus would disenfranchise students, most of whom don’t have a car to drive to the polls. “Whether this was politically motivated or not, the outcome is still the same. We’re suppressing our students from voting,” Imbesi said.
The move was protested by students, who marched the 4.5 miles from the on-campus polling place, where they had voted the previous year, to the new precinct location at the Maxatawny Township building. Joseph Scoboria, the student government president at Kutztown University, said he was upset about a comment made by a county official, who allegedly stated, “If you can walk to the liquor store, you can walk to the polls.”
Before the 2016 election, the commissioners considered moving the polling place back to the Kutztown University campus. However, both Leinbach and Scott voted against it, saying that the concerns of non-student residents were more important than those of students. “My goal is to first take care of the residents,” said Scott. “If they were ambivalent about it, that would be one thing, but they were not.” He added that students have other options, such as absentee voting.
Berks County Commissioner Christian Leinbach
When supporting relocating a polling place miles away from a college campus, Christian Leinbach argued that the new location was more convenient for non-student residents, who he said vote more frequently than college students. “I don’t want anyone to think I’m being critical of students not participating in municipal races,” Leinbach said. “I understand the focus is presidential elections.”
Leinbach, who ran as a far-right candidate in a failed congressional bid in 1996 and was a Ted Cruz delegate in 2016, and also supported Pennsylvania’s 2012 voter ID law.
Berks County Commissioner Mark Scott
Mark Scott was a vocal opponent of bilingual ballots in Berks County, which help make voting more accessible to Latino voters. After the U.S. Department of Justice received complaints from Spanish-speaking voters alleging discrimination at the polls, it ordered the county, in 2002, to offer bilingual ballots and other assistance to Hispanic voters. Scott refused to comply with the DOJ’s order.
“I believe we have to stand up and fight for what we believe in,” Scott said. “Maybe Berks County has to be the Bunker Hill of bilingualism.”
Scott claimed he would fight bilingual ballots all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, but a federal judge ruled that Berks County had to provide bilingual ballots and other assistance for Hispanic voters. While other county commissioners agreed they did not want to appeal, Scott persisted in his desire to fight the ruling. “This is the exaggerated byproduct of a few malcontent activists, some of whom are from outside the Berks County area,” Scott said. “We think this is part of a national trend toward a bilingual United States, which we think is a mistake.”
Scott supported Pennsylvania’s controversial voter ID law that was later struck down. After the bill was introduced in 2012, Scott stated, “In some more urban areas there is enough illegal voting that could change the outcome of an election in a close race.” He continued, “The last thing we want is for the public to lose confidence in the accuracy of the election process. In the end, we believe the voter ID law is essential.”
Additionally, Commissioner Scott was the focus of a three-year ethics probe over a landfill permit. The Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission ruled that after appealing a landfill permit, Scott violated ethics rules by participating in decision-making and using public resources to “further the action.” In 2003 the Associated Press noted, “Scott’s settlement with Waste Management Inc. may eventually prove to be a record financial penalty for an Ethics Commission case, although no money is changing hands and the total value won’t be known until 2025.”
Chester County Department of Voter Services
Chester County Commissioner Terence Farrell
Chester County Commissioner Terence Farrell supported Pennsylvania’s 2012 voter ID law even though he admitted that it may make it more difficult for residents to vote. He also faced allegations of voter suppression after the 2008 presidential election, which culminated in a lawsuit brought by voting rights advocates.
Several months before the 2008 election, over two hundred residents signed a petition to move a polling place from the Lincoln Community Association Building to Lincoln University’s Manuel Rivero Hall, where it had been located prior to 1992. The petition argued that the location of the polling place “disenfranchises, among others, students at Lincoln University, a majority of whom are African-American. This constitutes a violation of the federal Voting Rights Act.” At a September 2008 county commission meeting, residents cited numerous problems with the community center, including parking and accessibility. One resident told the commissioners that “the 2008 primary was so overcrowded that many people left without voting.”
Farrell, with the other Republican county commissioner at the time, Carol Aichele, who would later be appointed Secretary of the Commonwealth by Governor Tom Corbett, voted against moving the polling place. As a result, voters on Election Day—mostly Lincoln University students—waited in lines as long as seven hours to cast their ballots at the crowded community center.
One Lincoln University sophomore waited six hours to cast her ballot: “It’s frustrating. This is unorganized; it’s ridiculous,” she said. “They need to have a larger space, with more booths and more scanners,” and she also observed, “Our gym would have been great. Now look what everyone had to go through. I saw people who had to leave before they voted. They had classes.”
Following the disastrous election, voting rights advocates filed a federal lawsuit against the Chester County Commission arguing that their refusal to move the polling place disenfranchised black voters.
In addition to numerous other issues, the lawsuit described how “Aaron Martin, a Republican poll watcher, challenged the identities of young African-American voters, even if they had valid voter registration cards and photo IDs. Repeated challenges of young African-American voters caused even more delays and intimidated voters. Upon information and belief, Martin did not challenge any Caucasian voters.” It continued, “Defendant Commissioner Farrell was present in the Lower Oxford East polling place most of the day. Commissioner Farrell, an officer charged with the fair conduct of elections in Chester County, did not attempt to stop Martin’s unlawful challenges. When frustrated voters approached him to voice their concerns Commissioner Farrell shrugged and dismissed them.”
Farrell, who is African-American, rejected claims of racial discrimination. As part of the settlement in 2010, the Chester County Board of Elections agreed to move the precinct polling place back to the Lincoln University campus.
Bucks County Board of Elections
In the last several years, the Bucks County Board of Elections has faced serious accusations of politically motivated voter suppression and partisanship in election policy. County Commissioners Charles Martin and Robert Loughery serve on the Board of Elections and are both highly partisan officials.
Bucks County Commissioner Charles Martin
The Bucks County Board of Elections faced a lawsuit accusing it of deliberately suppressing voter turnout in 2008, shortly before Commissioner Martin was on the board. The board voted to move a polling place in Creekside, which had a significant population of minority and low-income residents without cars. Walking to the new location from Creekside required trudging along a busy road without a sidewalk, and crossing a five-lane intersection “where an average of 58,000 vehicles pass daily.” One Creekside resident, who was elderly and black, said she had never missed a general election until that year, when her physical ailments kept her from going to the polls.
Elections Director Deena Dean testified that she was harassed and intimidated by her Republican superiors, including Commissioner Martin, after Mike Brill, a leader of the local Republican Committee, had urged her to move the site because Creekside “was a Democrat poll.” Dean, a registered Republican, was intimidated by a county lawyer before her deposition, where she testified about two letters Brill admitted to ghostwriting for others about the polling place after she told him that moving the poll for partisan reasons was not a legitimate request. Dean said she had been pressured and intimidated for years by county officials, including Martin, who had prevented her from running the office impartially and without partisan games.
Martin brushed off serious accusations of blatant partisanship brought by Democratic County Commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia in 2010, who pointed out that only Republicans were being considered and appointed by the majority-Republican Board of Elections to inspect voting machines before elections. Elections Director Deena Dean said that she sent letters to the local Republican Party to fill the positions but did not send letters to the Democratic Party. Dean said that “because the Board of Elections has had a Republican majority since 1988, traditionally Republicans have been asked to oversee the machines.” Ellis-Marseglia called the practice unfair and without legal basis, and introduced a motion to require the Board of Elections to reach out to both political parties during the appointment process. None of the Republican board members agreed to second her motion.
Martin said that the practice of appointing only Republicans as voting machine inspectors was a “non-issue.” “It’s not a new issue,” he said. “Ever since before my time, the staff sent the letter to the Republican headquarters because the majority of the board has been Republican.” Nearly a year after Martin refused to even consider making the appointment of voting machine inspectors a bipartisan process, but the board agreed on a new, bipartisan policy on the process of appointing the inspectors.
Martin also disregarded the concerns of senior citizens about the voter ID law presented to the Board of Elections when, in 2012, Martin suggested that voters who did not have a photo ID cast absentee ballots instead.
Bucks County Commissioner Robert Loughery
Republican Robert Loughery serves as the chairman of the Bucks County Commission. He was a Pennsylvania state delegate for Donald Trump at the 2016 GOP convention who introduced Trump’s running mate, Governor Mike Pence, at a campaign event in Pennsylvania.
The Philadelphia City Commission effectively functions as the board of election for Philadelphia, as commissioners “set and enforce department policies to administer voter registration and conduct elections in accordance with federal and state voter registration and election laws.”
Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt
Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt, the only Republican serving on the commission and board of elections, faced scrutiny after releasing a report in July 2012 which argued that voter fraud was a problem in Philadelphia. The report, which Schmidt said was not comprehensive, did not highlight any unreported instances of voter impersonation, but he claimed there were “seven distinct types of voting irregularities/voter fraud in Philadelphia.” Schmidt highlighted the case of one voter who cast two ballots in several elections, which Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Karen Heller called “the only known example of voter impersonation in Philadelphia.”
Although Schmidt claimed that his report was not released to support the recent voter ID law—which was facing a legal challenge prior to the presidential election—the report was swiftly promoted by Republican officials in the state in support of the new legislation. Both the chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party and former secretary of state Carol Aichele, who had been appointed by Governor Tom Corbett, issued statements citing the report as proof that the state needed a voter ID law. GOP Chairman Rob Gleason even attempted to raise money off the report: “Are you as outraged by this as I am? Enough is enough, and we need to act now!” Gleason wrote in an e-mail blast. “Click to donate $15, $25, $50 or more today to help us combat voter fraud in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania.” He added, “Donate today and stand up to the liberals to help us protect Pennsylvania’s elections.”
Delaware County Board of Elections
Delaware Board of Elections Members Carmen Belefonte and James Flandreau
Carmen Belefonte and James Flandreau, who serve on the Delaware County Board of Elections, both voted in favor of challenging absentee ballots cast by nursing home residents in 2013. The challenge was brought by a Republican poll watcher against absentee ballots submitted by elderly nursing home residents with serious physical ailments and disabilities.
The nursing home residents claimed that there was no “shred of evidence that there was some form of misconduct in the way the ballots were filled out,” and a judge agreed, ruling in favor of the nursing home residents. The county judge directed the Board of Elections to count the absentee ballots, dismissing the challenge.
Voter Suppression Groups in Pennsylvania
In addition to state and local elected officials, several organizations have worked to promote voter suppression policies in Pennsylvania.
Independence Hall Foundation
The Independence Hall Foundation (formerly the Independence Hall Tea Party) works in Pennsylvania to support voter suppression policies. The group was cofounded by siblings Teri and Don Adams, both of whom have served as presidents of the group’s various interests. Since its founding, the Independence Hall Foundation has harbored many extreme views. Teri Adams openly admits that the organization supports abolishing public education, saying it believes that “public schools should go away.” She explained, “Our ultimate goal is to shut down public schools and have private schools only, eventually returning responsibility for payment to parents and private charities. It’s going to happen piecemeal and not overnight. It took us years to get into this mess and it’s going to take years to get out of it.”
The group officially broke from the Tea Party in 2014 “to pursue a larger, more mainstream conservative agenda, while respecting the mission of the broader Tea Party movement.” While no longer officially affiliated with the Tea Party, the Independence Hall Foundation retains the Tea Party-aligned mission of stopping the Obama administration from “remaking America into a . . . European socialist state.” The foundation now describes itself as “a tri-state (Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey) regional non-partisan, non-profit organization seeking to promote the values embodied in the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.”
The foundation’s previous iteration, the Independence Hall Tea Party, was a vocal supporter of the 2012 voter ID law. “We can no longer tolerate imposters voting for dead people or fraudulent votes being cast by individuals claiming to live at non-existent residences,” said Teri Adams in a 2012 news release. “We are grateful to Representatives Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) and Steven Barrar (R-Delaware) for advancing the cause of voter integrity in the PA legislature.
After the Commonwealth Court ruled that the law could not be in effect for the 2012 presidential elections, the group spoke out against the ruling along with Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, the controversial legislator who sponsored the law. The following year, the group awarded Metcalfe with their 2012 “Pennsylvania State Legislator of the Year” award.
In response to the court’s decision staying the 2012 voter ID law, the Independence Hall Tea Party threatened to hold Governor Tom Corbett “accountable” in the 2014 primary election if the Republican governor did not appeal the ruling. The group also urged voters to oust two members of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Republican Chief Justice Ron Castille and Democratic Associate Justice Max Baer, who were facing reelection before completing their ten-year terms by January 2014. “The Independence Hall Tea Party worked extremely hard to help get Voter ID passed–beginning in November 2010,” said PAC President, Don Adams. “We have contacted over 170 Tea Party and Patriot groups across Pennsylvania to ask that they join us in urging the rejection of Justices Ron Castille and Max Baer for their role in obstructing the implementation of the Voter ID law in both the 2012 and 2013 Pennsylvania Primary and General Elections.” 
Independence Hall Foundation co-founder Don Adams recently lobbied the Philadelphia City Council against a proposal that would allow any resident to receive a municipal ID card by providing proof of residency and identity. “This type of program could lead to illegal residents receiving government benefits that they haven’t paid for,” warned Adams. He also warned “that it could further lead to their ability to register to vote.”
Before the 2012 presidential election, the Independence Hall Tea Party urged supporters to get involved with the organization, writing in their newsletter, “If you want to live in the United States of America and not the Socialist States of America, you will join us during next three weeks.” The group organized an “Election Day Poll Watching Project” to train volunteers to monitor polling places on Election Day to supposedly watch for voter fraud. In outreach materials to recruit volunteers, the group wrote, “Tired of dead people voting? Angry Voter ID is being nixed? Want to stop voter fraud in 2012? There is something you can do. Join our Election Day Poll Watching team!” The flyer said the group’s volunteers would “monitor Philadelphia and Suburban Precincts that haven’t been watched in years. Let’s keep the election fair and honest—for a change.”
True the Vote
The tactic of organizing poll watchers to allegedly look for voter fraud on Election Day has been prominently used by True the Vote, a Houston-based national organization that advocates for voter suppression policies, engages in fear-mongering about virtually nonexistent election fraud, and that has worked to disenfranchise voters across the nation, as well as in Pennsylvania specifically.
Founded by Tea Party activist Catherine Engelbrecht, True the Vote has been extremely successful in promoting voter suppression policies around the country and its work has bolstered legislative efforts in at least thirty-seven states to require voter ID at the polls. The organization has been criticized for intimidating minority voters at polling places where their trained poll watchers aimed to leave “no polling place unmanned” to guard against election fraud, and has advocated for a range of voter suppression policies, including large-scale voter purges.
True the Vote has been criticized for the aggressive tactics of its trained poll watchers, including for sending white poll watchers to majority African American neighborhoods. Voting rights groups have noted that white poll watchers in minority neighborhoods can have a disenfranchising effect on voters even if there is no direct interaction.
Voter Suppression Efforts in Pennsylvania
True the Vote, which advocated for the state’s voter ID law, targeted Pennsylvania for poll watching in 2012, drawing concerns that the group would target minority neighborhoods and possibly intimidate voters. One e-mail blast from the Pittsburgh Tea Party Movement encouraged supporters to volunteer as poll watchers, noting, “With Governor Corbett not upholding the voter-ID law, we need poll watchers” but warned volunteers that “some of the areas that need poll watchers are not in the nicest part of town.”
When True the Vote announced that it would be recruiting one million poll watchers in states across the country, including Pennsylvania, voting rights activist feared they would intimidate black voters. “We’ve been very concerned that many African-American voters could be dissuaded or turned away from the polls,” said Khari Mosley of the A. Philip Randolph Institute. “If the True the Vote people do come out, there could be an intimidation factor. We want to let people know they have rights.”
True the Vote’s influence as a national voter suppression organization is difficult to accurately track because of the work it does through loosely affiliated state and local groups. A number of such groups around the country described themselves as “empowered” by True the Vote. A leader of an Illinois “empowered” group described True the Vote as “almost like a parent group but not exactly.”
A Pennsylvania state group that affiliated itself with True the Vote before and during the 2012 election season to promote voter suppression policies like voter ID. ‘Empowered by True the Vote in Pennsylvania’ identified True the Vote’s Bob Evenden as the “Pennsylvania State Coordinator” on Facebook in 2011.
True the Vote: Hardly “Nonpartisan”
True the Vote claims that it is focused only on ensuring fair elections and that it is not partisan. The group’s founder, Catherine Engelbrecht, has said, “This has never been and never will be about politics” and maintained it “is not a partisan effort.” However, the partisan motivations behind the right-wing group are clear.
True the Vote has been criticized on a national level for focusing its poll watchers and voter registration challenges on minority communities that traditionally vote Democratic. True the Vote’s president, Catherine Engelbrecht, highlighted the partisan motivations behind her group’s effort to fight alleged election fraud: “You don’t need a whole lot of election fraud; you just need a little bit in the right places to swing an election.”
Officials at all levels of Pennsylvania’s government have engaged in what amounts to a long-term assault on voting rights. Voter suppression policies—restrictive voter ID laws, purging voter rolls, and other policies that make voting less accessible—disproportionately affect minorities, senior citizens, the disabled, and low-income voters who should be encouraged to turn out and exercise their constitutional rights to vote.
Despite what some Pennsylvania officials have expressed, voting is a right, not a privilege. These officials are failing all Pennsylvanians when they are motivated by partisanship and engage in racially charged rhetoric while serving in roles intended to impartially administer elections and protect voting rights. Voter suppression policies do not simply make it more difficult for Pennsylvanians to vote–they also strip constitutional rights from largely minority voters, all for the purpose of partisan, political gain.
 “Voter Identification Requirements,” Pennsylvania Department of State website, May 2015, accessed October 3, 2016, http://www.dos.pa.gov/VotingElections/OtherServicesEvents/Documents/Voter%20ID%20Guidance%20FINAL.pdf.
 Sari Horwitz, “Getting a Photo ID So You Can Vote Is Easy, Unless You’re Poor, Black, Latino or Elderly,” Washington Post, May 23, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/getting-a-photo-id-so-you-can-vote-is-easy-unless-youre-poor-black-latino-or-elderly/2016/05/23/8d5474ec-20f0-11e6-8690-f14ca9de2972_story.html.
 “Oppose Voter ID Legislation – Fact Sheet,” American Civil Liberties Union website, accessed, accessed October 3, 2016, https://www.aclu.org/oppose-voter-id-legislation-fact-sheet.
 “Absentee and Early Voting,” National Conference of State Legislatures website, May 26, 2016, accessed October 3, 2016, http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/absentee-and-early-voting.aspx.
 “Voting by Absentee Ballot,” Pennsylvania Department of State, VotesPa website, accessed October 3, 2016, http://www.votespa.com/en-us/voting-and-elections/types-of-voting/Pages/Absentee-Ballot.aspx.
 “Absentee and Early Voting.”
 Sarah Smith, “Early Voting Increases Turnout Two to Four Percent, Boosts Voting Among Minorities,” Salon, October 1, 2016, http://www.salon.com/2016/10/01/which-voters-show-up-when-states-allow-early-voting_partner/.
 Paul Carpenter, “Pennsylvania Early Voting an Idea Whose Time Has Come,” (Allentown, PA) Morning Call, March 16, 2013, http://articles.mcall.com/2013-03-16/news/mc-pc-pennsylvania-early-voting-20130316_1_voter-fraud-photo-id-law-voter-turnout.
 Editorial Board, “Early Voting Right for State,” Scranton (PA) Times-Tribune, April 5, 2013, http://thetimes-tribune.com/opinion/early-voting-right-for-state-1.1465003.
 “Questions That Are Asked Frequently by Voters,” Mercer County Pennsylvania website, accessed October 3, 2016, https://www.mcc.co.mercer.pa.us/election/Questions Frequently Asked.htm.
 Brad Bumsted, “Pennsylvania Joins Coalition to Clean Up Voter Rolls,” Pittsburgh (PA) Tribune-Review, October 13, 2013, http://triblive.com/politics/politicalheadlines/4877446-74/voter-election-rolls.
 Greg Palast, “Jim Crow Returns,” Al Jazeera America, October 29, 2014, http://projects.aljazeera.com/2014/double-voters/index.html.
 Arlene Martínez, “New Laws on Illegals Suspect,” (Allentown, PA) Morning Call, July 21, 2006, http://articles.mcall.com/2006-07-21/news/3688955_1_illegal-immigrants-legal-residency-hazleton.
 Michael P. Buffer, “County Official Says Registered Voters Were Turned Away in Hazleton Precincts,” (Wilkes-Barre, PA) Citizens’ Voice, November 9, 2012, http://citizensvoice.com/news/county-official-says-registered-voters-were-turned-away-in-hazleton-precincts-1.1400878; and Michael P. Buffer, “County Rules on Provisional Ballots,” (Wilkes-Barre, PA) Citizens’ Voice, November 10, 2012, http://citizensvoice.com/news/county-rules-on-provisional-ballots-1.1401302.
 Associated Press, “Lawsuit Targets Pennsylvania’s Fortified Voter Law,” Pittsburgh (PA) Tribune-Review, May 1, 2012, http://triblive.com/home/1293147-74/law-filed-lawsuit-lawyers-seeking-vote-voter-american-bill-center.
 Jeff Frantz, “Metcalfe ‘Disappointed’ Corbett not Continuing Fight on Voter ID Law,” (Harrisburg, PA) Patriot-News, May 9, 2014, http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2014/05/metcalfe_disappointed_corbett.html.
 Marc Levy, “Pa. Voter ID Bill Passes Senate, Heads to House,” Associated Press State and Local Wire, March 7, 2012, http://www.delcotimes.com/article/DC/20120307/NEWS/303079960.
 Robert Barnes, “Pennsylvania Voter-ID Case Opens in State Court,” Washington Post, July 25, 2012, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/pa-voter-id-case-opens-in-state-court/2012/07/25/gJQAt28A9W_story.html.
 Jan Murphy, “Religious Questions for Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Draw Fire,” Harrisburg (PA) Patriot-News, April 8, 2012, http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2012/04/religious_questions_for_pennsy.html.
 Bob Warner, “Voter ID Law May Hit More in Pa. Than Originally Estimated,” Philadelphia Inquirer, July 4, 2012, http://articles.philly.com/2012-07-04/news/32524446_1_voter-id-new-voter-id-cards.
 Levy, “Pa. Voter ID Bill.”
 Rick Lyman, “Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Struck Down as Judge Cites Burden on Citizens,” New York Times, January 17, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/18/us/politics/pennsylvania-voter-id-law-struck-down.html.
 Pa. House Video YouTube channel, “Turzai: Voter ID Will Allow Romney to Win Pa.,” YouTube video, :12, posted June 25, 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuOT1bRYdK8.
 Angela Couloumbis, “A Top Republican’s Remark about Voter ID Brings Him under Political Fire,” Philadelphia Inquirer, June 28, 2012, http://articles.philly.com/2012-06-28/news/32442108_1_voter-id-law-voter-fraud-turzai-of-allegheny-county.
 Angela Couloumbis, “PA GOP Chair Says Voter ID Helped Cut Obama Margin,” Commonwealth Confidential (blog}, Philadelphia Inquirer, July 19, 2013, http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/harrisburg_politics/PA-GOP-chair-says-voter-ID-helped-cut-Obama-margin.html.
 Daniel Denvir, “Gov. Corbett Contracts with Romney Fundraiser for PA Voter ID Ad Campaign,” Philadelphia Inquirer, July 11, 2012, http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/presidential/Corbett-contracts-with-Romney-fundraiser-Voter-ID-campaign.html.
 Mark Shade, “Pennsylvania Judge: Voter ID Law a No-Go for November 6,” Reuters, October 2, 2012, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-campaign-pennsylvania-idUSBRE8900LA20121002; and Jan Murphy, “Voter ID Opponents Say State’s Ad Campaign Is Misleading,” (Harrisburg, PA) Patriot-News, October 18, 2012, http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2012/10/voter_id_1.html.
 Angela Couloumbis, “Groups Ask Judge to Stop Outdated Pa. Voter-ID Mailings,” Philadelphia Inquirer, October 21, 2012, http://articles.philly.com/2012-10-21/news/34607818_1_voter-id-law-disenfranchise-voters-photo-identification.
 Associated Press, “PA Auditor General Critical of $1 Million Voter ID TV Ads,” WITF.org, October 22, 2013, http://www.witf.org/news/2013/10/pa-auditor-general-criticical-of-1-million-voter-id-tv-ads.php.
 Steve Esack, “Gov. Tom Corbett Won’t Appeal Court Ruling Against Voter ID Law,” (Allentown, PA) Morning Call, May 8, 2014, http://articles.mcall.com/2014-05-08/news/mc-pa-corbett-voter-id-20140508_1_voter-id-law-photo-identification-court-ruling.
 Bob Warner, “Mailing to Retired City Workers Says Photo ID Needed to Vote,” Philadelphia Inquirer, October 16, 2012, http://articles.philly.com/2012-10-16/news/34473759_1_voter-id-law-flier-potential-voters.
 Bob Warner, “PECO Admits to Sending Incorrect Voter ID Info to 1.3 million Customers,” Philadelphia Inquirer, October 18, 2012, http://articles.philly.com/2012-10-18/news/34527190_1_voter-id-law-cathy-engel-menendez-peco-spokeswoman.
 Michael Hinkelman, “Report: Voter ID Could Stop Nearly One in Six Pa. Latinos from Voting,” Philadelphia Inquirer, September 26, 2012, http://articles.philly.com/2012-09-26/news/34083568_1_voter-id-law-latino-voters-voter-id.
 Jessica Parks, “Pa.’s New Voter-ID Law Caused Confusion, Voters Say,” Philadelphia Inquirer, November 7, 2012, http://articles.philly.com/2012-11-07/news/34974403_1_voter-id-law-poll-workers-general-election.
 Marc Levy, “Pa. Voter ID Law Challenged in Court,” Associated Press State and Local Wire, May 1, 2012..
 Peter Hall and Scott Kraus, “Controversial Measure Is in Hands of Judge with Valley Ties,” (Allentown, PA) Morning Call, July 28, 2012, http://articles.mcall.com/2012-07-28/news/mc-pa-voter-id-supreme-court-20120727_1_voter-id-law-voter-identification-ellen-mattleman-kaplan.
 Amy Worden, “Judge Rejects Bid to Block Pa. Voter ID Law,” Philadelphia Inquirer, August 15, 2012, http://articles.philly.com/2012-08-15/news/33217505_1_voter-identification-law-voter-id-law-new-law.
 Karen Langley, “Pa. Voter ID Opponents Appeal to High Court,” Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette, August 31, 2012, http://www.post-gazette.com/news/state/2012/08/31/Pa-voter-ID-opponents-appeal-to-high-court/stories/201208310145.
 Bob Warner and Angela Couloumbis, “Pa. High Court Tells Judge to Check Voter ID Access,” Philadelphia Inquirer, September 20, 2012, http://articles.philly.com/2012-09-20/news/33953478_1_voter-id-law-voter-identification-requirement-id-cards.
 Angela Couloumbis, “Court Sets Voter-ID Law Aside for November Elections,” Philadelphia Inquirer, October 4, 2012, http://articles.philly.com/2012-10-04/news/34240219_1_voter-id-law-league-of-women-voters-commonwealth-secretary-carol-aichele.
 Steve Esack and Peter Hall, “Pennsylvania Voter ID Challenge Moves Toward July 15 Trial,” (Allentown, PA) Morning Call, June 25, 2013, http://articles.mcall.com/2013-06-25/news/mc-pa-voter-id-trial-set-20130624_1_voter-id-judge-robert-simpson-transportation-id; and Peter Jackson, “Pa. Judge Bars Voter ID Enforcement in November Election,” August 16, 2013, http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Pa-Judge-Bars-ID-Enforcement-in-Nov-Election-219969241.html.
 Marc Levy, “Judge Strikes Down Photo ID Requirement for Pa. Voters,” Associated Press State and Local Wire, January 17, 2014, http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140117/updated-judge-strikes-down-photo-id-requirement-for-pa-voters.
 Esack, “Gov. Tom Corbett Won’t Appeal.”
 Frantz, “Metcalfe ‘Disappointed.’”
 Tom Barnes, “Metcalfe Introduces Pa. Voter ID Bill,” Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette, May 13, 2008, http://www.post-gazette.com/breaking/2008/05/13/Metcalfe-introduces-Pa-voter-ID-bill/stories/200805130186.
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