Photos by Bill Allen
By Carl Davidson
Beaver County Blue
Nearly 500 people gathered on the steps of Pennsylvania’s State Capitol in Harrisburg on the hot afternoon of July 24 to deliver a warning to the GOP-dominated legislature-all their efforts to suppress the right to vote will be met with stiff resistance.
The rally was organized by the NAACP, trade union, women’s and church groups. Its tarrget was the GOP’s so-called ‘VoterID’ law, which may forbid nearly nine percent of the electorate, from voting in November.
"Do you want to know where the voter fraud has occurred? I’ll tell you right now where the vote fraud has occurred?" declared Rep. Ron Waters (D-Philadelphia). "It occurred when the people who wanted to disenfranchise the many 758,000 who are already registered to vote but do not possess a PennDOT-issued Photo IDs. They want to make sure that this is a way to get the candidate of their choice elected."
Opponents of the law expose it as entirely unnecessary since voters already identify themselves, and sign in to vote, where their signature is checked against the registry. Requiring a new official photo ID puts an undue financial burden on the elderly born at home without birth certificates, on young voters, on anyone with parking tickets, and many others-all of whom will have difficulty amounting to an unconstitutional poll tax is getting an acceptable ID by November. GOP politicians, including House Majority leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny), are already bragging that the law will give the states’ electoral votes to Romney.
"We’re fired up! We’re Ready to Go!", the crowd chanted repeatedly between a dozen or so speakers. Richard Bloomingdale, Pres. Pennsylvania AFL-CIO spoke and condemned the law. So did Fred Redmond, International VP of the United Steel Workers. John DeFazio, USW District 10 Director and Chairman of the Allegheny County Board of Elections spoke. He said that the Allegheny County Board of Elections is planning to sue to overturn the law.
Two busloads of about 100 people came to the event from Beaver and Lawrence counties in Western PA. Sponsors and organizers included the local NAACP, SEIU, Progressive Democrats of America and Beaver County Commissioner Joe Spanik.
"This has to be said," stated Spanik. ‘This is just racist. They’re trying to suppress mainly older and minority voters. We can’t let them get away with it."