Let us return to the tale of one Joseph Cheeseboro. Or possibly Joseph Cheeseborough. The city resident loves those machines, having voted under both names in eight elections, going so far as to cast ballots twice in the 2007 primary and the general, using a 7-Eleven on South Broad as one address. Perhaps voting so often makes Joe parched for a Slurpee. Last week, he was cited as the prime example of voter fraud by Republican City Commissioner Al Schmidt. Then again, Joe Cheeseboro/borough is the only known example of voter impersonation in Philadelphia. This irregularity, along with the other findings in Schmidt’s study, has been previously reported. At his news conference, Schmidt wanted to make clear – please don’t read this while drinking coffee – this had nothing to do with Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law, which is being challenged in Commonwealth Court this week, leaving 9.2 percent of Pennsylvania and 18 percent of Philadelphia voters without proper credentials. The law is as adored by Republicans as it is loathed by Democrats. No, nothing whatsoever to do with the law or politics. Let the games begin! “Philadelphia is, without question, one of our nation’s most infested epicenters for rampant election fraud and corruption,” said Butler County Republican State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, who clearly isn’t planning to spend his vacation here. State GOP chair Rob Gleason released an e-mail blast soliciting donations based on Schmidt’s report: “Are you as outraged by this as I am? Enough is enough, and we need to act now! 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.”
Secretary of State Carol Aichele, who repeatedly estimated that 99 percent of state voters would have the necessary ID to vote, returned to her party’s mantra of widespread voter fraud despite, you know, much evidence. She said, “It is clear that some of the alleged crimes would have been prevented if Pennsylvania’s voter ID law had been in place in previous elections.” Mind you, this is the same Aichele who remarked last August, “I’ve worked in polling places since 1981, and I’ve never seen voter fraud. I’ve never seen absentee-ballot fraud.”
This is also the same Aichele who, during the 2008 presidential general election, came under a torrent of criticism when, as a Chester County commissioner, she helped assign Lower Oxford Township voters, many of them students at Lincoln University, to a small, inconvenient polling facility. Voters, most of them African American, waited up to seven hours in the rain to vote. A federal lawsuit charging racial discrimination was later settled in favor of the residents and students. Make no mistake: The new voter ID law affects 758,000 voters and disproportionately targets urban residents, the elderly, African Americans, and Democrats. In the four months since the law was enacted, fewer than 2,500 state residents have obtained the necessary card to vote in November.