Fox Hides Lack Of Voter Fraud And Political Motives In Coverage Of PA's Voter ID Law

Fox's Patti-Ann Brown adopted the discredited right-wing claim that voter ID laws like one recently passed in Pennsylvania are an “attempt to fight voter fraud.” But experts have said that voter fraud is not an issue in the state, and a state lawmaker behind the push has acknowledged that it's part of an effort to elect Mitt Romney.

Fox Claims Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Is An “Attempt To Fight Voter Fraud”

Fox's Browne: “Holder Taking Issue With Yet Another State's Attempt To Fight Voter Fraud.” During the July 24 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends First, co-host Patti-Ann Browne called Pennsylvania's controversial voter ID law  “another state's attempt to fight voter fraud.” [Fox News Channel, Fox & Friends First, 7/24/12]

PA GOP House Majority Leader Called Voter ID Law A Way To “Allow” Romney “To Win” Pennsylvania

PoliticsPA: GOP House Majority Leader Turzai Admits Voter ID Law “Gonna Allow...Romney To Win...Pennsylvania.” A June 25 PoliticsPA blog post quoted a speech thatGOP State House Majority Leader Mike Turazi delivered at the previous weekends' Republican State Committee meeting. In this speech, Turazi claimed the GOP-led legislature had gotten a voter ID law passed that “is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.” From the post:

House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) suggested that the House's end game in passing the Voter ID law was to benefit the GOP politically.

“We are focused on making sure that we meet our obligations that we've talked about for years,” said Turzai in a speech to committee members Saturday. He mentioned the law among a laundry list of accomplishments made by the GOP-run legislature.

“Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it's done. First pro-life legislation - abortion facility regulations - in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”

The statement drew a loud round of applause from the audience. It also struck a nerve among critics, who called it an admission that they passed the bill to make it harder for Democrats to vote -- and not to prevent voter fraud as the legislators claimed. [PoliticsPA, 6/25/12]

For more on Turzai's admission SEE HERE

Pennsylvania Does Not Have A Voter Fraud Problem

Philadelphia Inquirer: PA Voter ID Law Targets Fraud That Is “No Longer Common.” A May 4 Philadelphia Inquirer article reported that the Pennsylvania voter ID law would onlyeffectively combat “gangs of 'repeaters' that 19th-century party bosses sent to the polls” but would not combat fraud recently “seen or suspected.” From the article:

In the 1960s, a Democratic ward leader took shoe boxes full of quarters to the polls in poor neighborhoods - “to pay off voters,” a veteran election lawyer recalls.

In 1993, a judge overturned a pivotal State Senate race because of hundreds of bogus absentee ballots.

In last year's primary, dozens of polling places mysteriously recorded more votes in some races than the number of voters who'd signed in.

All are examples of real or suspected vote fraud, Philadelphia-style. And all have this in common: They probably wouldn't have been stopped or detected by the new photo ID requirement for all Pennsylvania voters.

The new law, ushered in by Republican legislators and signed by Gov. Corbett, is intended to deter interlopers from impersonating honest voters.

Such a law might have foiled the gangs of “repeaters” that 19th-century party bosses sent to polls to fix Philadelphia elections. But that's not the type of fraud seen or suspected in more recent Philadelphia voting. Just ask veteran election lawyer Gregory Harvey about the shoe boxes. [The Philadelphia Inquirer5/4/12]

TPM: State Acknowledges No In-Person Voter Fraud In Pennsylvania. In a July 24 blog post, Talking Points Memo pointed out that Pennsylvania has “formally acknowledged that there's been no reported in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania and there isn't likely to be in November” in a stipulation agreement with a coalition of civil rights lawyers currently involved in a lawsuit revolving around the Pennsylvania voter ID law. From the post:

The state signed a stipulation agreement with lawyers for the plaintiffs which acknowledges there “have been no investigations or prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania; and the parties do not have direct personal knowledge of any such investigations or prosecutions in other states.”

Additionally, the agreement states Pennsylvania “will not offer any evidence in this action that in-person voter fraud has in fact occurred in Pennsylvania and elsewhere” or even argue “that in person voter fraud is likely to occur in November 2012 in the absence of the Photo ID law.” [Talking Points Memo, 7/24/12]

The Law Could Disenfranchise Hundreds Of Thousands Of Eligible Voters

The Inquirer: Over 700,000 Pennsylvanians May Be Disenfranchised By Voter ID Law. A July 5 Philadelphia Inquirer article reported that 758,000 registered voters in Pennsylvania do not have the ID the new law requires to vote, and that this could stop them from voting. From the article:

More than 758,000 registered voters in Pennsylvania do not have photo identification cards from the state Transportation Department, putting their voting rights at risk in the November election, according to data released Tuesday by state election officials.

The figures - representing 9.2 percent of the state's 8.2 million voters - are significantly higher than prior estimates by the Corbett administration. Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele has repeatedly said that 99 percent of Pennsylvania's voters already had the photo ID they will need at the polls in November.

The new numbers, based on a comparison of voter registration rolls with PennDot ID databases, shows the potential problem is much bigger, particularly in Philadelphia, where 186,830 registered voters - 18 percent of the city's total registration - do not have PennDot ID.

Under Pennsylvania's new voter ID law, various other forms of photo identification will be accepted at voting places in November, including U.S. passports, student identification cards with expiration dates, current military identification, and ID cards issued to government employees.

But for most voters, the Pennsylvania driver's license is the standard photo ID. The disclosure that 9 percent of the state's registered voters don't have one - or an alternative, nondriver PennDot photo ID - provides a clearer picture of the hurdle set up by the state's new voter ID requirement. [The Philadelphia Inquirer7/5/12]

Fox Has Been An Avid Cheerleader For Voter ID Laws

Fox Anchor Scott: “We Are Having A Problem With Voter Fraud.” During the March 13 edition of Fox News' Happening Now, anchor John Scott suggested that Texas' voter ID law is needed because “we are having a problem with voter fraud right now.” [Fox News, Happening Now3/13/12]

For more on Fox's fraudulent defense of Texas' voter ID law SEE HERE

Fox Correspondent Jim Angle: “There Is Nothing Burdensome” About Requiring Photo ID. During the January 3 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, correspondent Jim Angle fraudulently defended South Carolina's voter ID law, ignoring the DoJ's reasoning for its blocking of the law and pushing false claims that voter IDs are free, that IDs should be required to vote because they are required to do other things, that voter ID laws do not disenfranchise, and that voter ID laws prevent wide spread voter fraud. [Fox News, Fox & Friends1/3/12]

For more on Fox's fraudulent defense of South Carolina's voter ID law SEE HERE