Here is some additional information regarding the proposed Pennsylvania voter-identification bill that The Daily Pennsylvanian reported on.

Pennsylvania’s voter-identification legislation, HB 934, has the fingerprints of the shadowy, corporate-funded, right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council all over it. Actually there are more than fingerprints; the original version of the Pennsylvania bill took one section item-by-item, and some of that word-for-word, from ALEC’s model “Voter ID Act.” It also contains a section that seems derived from ALEC’s “Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act.” (We can only see the text of these and many other ALEC model bills because of a large document leak. See alecexposed.org.)

The usual story about HB 934’s origin is that it was inspired by similar legislation from 2005 in Indiana. But Indiana’s P.L.109 2005 does not contain the language that the original Pennsylvania bill shares with ALEC’s 2009-dated model legislation and also does not share an onerous requirement for provisional voters.

Rep. Darryl Metcalfe introduced HB 934; as noted in a July 28, 2011 Philadelphia City Paper article, he has a very cozy relationship with ALEC. And Metcalfe, apparently not a rocket scientist, had previously only ever written one exceedingly minor piece of legislation that was enacted.

ALEC exists to put a conservative corporate agenda into state laws nationwide. The way ALEC works is to wine and dine state legislators that seem sympathetic to its views, then shower them with model legislation that they can introduce back home. (Obviously part of the deal is that the legislators don’t talk about where their bills really came from.) That’s why similarly restrictive voter-identification bills have turned up in so many states within a short time.

If you think concern about this ALEC-voter identification connection is just alarmist, consider these words from ALEC co-founder Paul Weyrich in 1981 (video easily found on YouTube):

“Now many of our Christians have what I call the goo-goo syndrome — good government. They want everybody to vote. I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

Need I say more?

Ellen Slack
Bibliographic Assistant,Van Pelt Library

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.