Top state federation of labor officers call for audit of number of voters affected, associated costs and Department of State procedures regarding voter suppression bill
Harrisburg, PA (July 26, 2012) - In a letter to Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner, the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO called for an investigation of the Secretary of State's failure to accurately project the size of the pool of Pennsylvania voters who will be adversely affected by the Republican-driven Voter Identification bill.
In the letter signed by Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Richard Bloomingdale and Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder the labor leaders stated, "Not trusting any of the statements coming from the Department of State, we decided to do our own analysis of the raw data the Secretary was using to project the size of the pool of voters who may not have valid identification under the strict guidelines of the new law. Our findings were shocking. When expired and expiring state issued identification cards are factored in, the pool of affected voters grows to 1.6 million, 20% of the voting population of the Commonwealth. Nearly half the voting population of Philadelphia, 427,000 voters, are vulnerable to losing their right to vote due to the new voter suppression legislation."
The first prognostication surfacing during legislative debate from the Governor's office was that only 1% of Pennsylvanians would be without proper identification when the bill passed. Shortly after passage the Pennsylvania Secretary of State, revised the numbers upwards declaring 758,000 Pennsylvanians are on voter registration rolls who do not have either a Pennsylvania Driver's License or state issued identification card, a number equal to 9% of the state's voting population. The Secretary did not include expired or expiring state issued identification cards in the universe of 758,000 voters.
"Historically America has been a country that has sought to expand voting opportunities and ensure all our citizens have equal access to the ballot box. We fear this disingenuous legislation takes us in the opposite director for purely political purposes and we caution that legislators debated this bill and made voting decisions based on severely inaccurate and misleading numbers," said President Bloomingdale.
The AFL-CIO appeal to Auditor General Wagner requested "an immediate audit to identify the number of Pennsylvanians who may be without proper identification under the bill's directives, the true financial costs associated with the legislation based on the rapidly expanding pool of affected voters and an analysis of the process in the Department of State that resulted in inaccurate and misleading information being released."
Said Secretary-Treasurer Snyder, "Magicians use 'Sleight of Hand' techniques to distract observers from their real objective. Republican Majority leader Mike Turzai's trickery was exposed on national television. Pennsylvanians have been subjected to enough of this type of deception on a variety of issues. In this case, there also appears to be an arithmetic problem. That is why we are calling on the Auditor General's Office to conduct a very timely audit and put an end to any discrepancies in how many will be disenfranchised. Thanks to Mr. Turzai, we already have the answer to why."