Saturday, August 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Pennsylvania, meet Jim Crow

Pennsylvania, meet Jim Crow

Bill Clinton calls it like he sees it

Former President Bill Clinton weighed in on Republican efforts in several states to pass new restrictions on voting, comparing the measures to the Jim Crow laws of the past.

"There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today," Clinton said in a speech at a Campus Progress conference in Washington.

Tragically, one of the "new Jim Crow" states is right here in Pennsylvania. The Daily News had a good editorial on this today, nailing the insanity of the GOP's likely-to-pass "voter fraud" bill that tackles a problem that doesn't exist -- while disenfranchising thousands of voters, disproportionately the elderly and minorities:

THE VOTER-ID bill passed recently by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives purports to be a solution to a problem that simply doesn't exist: people voting fraudulently by showing up at the polls pretending to be someone else.

If the bill, which now goes to the state Senate, becomes law, most Pennsylvania voters would have to show government-issued picture IDs every time they vote. If a citizen doesn't have a state or federal ID or a passport, he or she would have to go to a driver's license office with a birth certificate, Social Security card and proof of residency, and pay $13.50 to get one. (Current law requires voters to show identification only the first time they vote in a new precinct.)

Actually, the real problem that voter-ID legislation is meant to solve is that poor people and the elderly - who are 11 percent less likely than other eligible voters to possess such identification - are known to vote overwhelming for Democrats.

As I noted here a couple of weeks ago, this plan is nothing more than a scheme for Republicans to take advantage of their current majority in Harrisburg and steal future elections, pure and simple -- destroying democracy in the name of saving it. Kudos to the 42nd president for calling this out.

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Will Bunch
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