We talked last week about how Pennsylvania now has one of the most restrictive voting laws in the country, and how very few people in Pennsylvania know about the new law, so may find it difficult to comply with it.
Well, Governor Corbett is taking swift and decisive action to fix the problem that he created. He’s hired a GOP operative and Romney bundler to educate the common people (who have the right to vote) on the new law:
Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration has signed a $249,660 contract with a company run by Mitt Romney fundraiser, former state GOP party executive director, pharmaceutical lobbyist, and school voucher advocate Chris Bravacos to direct a media campaign promoting the state’s Voter ID law.
Yes, that very same law, requiring that voters present identification at the polls, which critics contend will suppress Democratic-leaning non-white, poor, elderly and youth voters and which House Majority Leader Mike Turzairecently boasted (video) is “gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”
One sample PSA on the Bravo Group’s Vimeo page portrays voter ID as just the latest installment in a bright history of American voting rights, and features anodyne black and white photos―including one of suffragettes.Another spot portrays a lot of shiny-toothed middle class models holding ID cards. [note: Bravo removed the two videos this morning but Occupy Harrisburg has reposted them here and here.] An astounding 758,939 registered voters in the state, or nine percent, do not have PennDot IDs, according to datareleased last Tuesday by the Department of State. In Philadelphia, it’s even worse: 186,830 registered voters, or 18 percent, do not have ID. Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele had previously assured lawmakers that 99 percent of Pennsylvanians possess the necessary ID―based on what, I have absolutely no idea.
The state released this astonishing data on July 3 in what seems like a transparent effort to ensure that the bomb-like news would drop like a dud on the July 4th holiday. And they did so with the almost-unbelievably-Orwellian title “Department of State and PennDOT Confirm Most Registered Voters Have Photo ID.”
A Commonwealth Court hearing in a case to decide whether the law is indeed tantamount to the reimposition of Jim Crow voter suppression tactics is scheduled for July 25 in Harrisburg.
The Department of State approved the $249,660 contract with the Bravo Group on June 25, according to public documents collected by the Cost of Freedom Project and sent to City Paper. The Bravo Group is run by Mitt Romney fundraiser Chris Bravacos, a pharmaceutical industry lobbyist who also operates the Bravo Foundation, which funnels donations to private schools in a voucher-like program for corporations looking for a legalized taxpayer kickback (see this New York Times report).
“It’s outrageous that Pennsylvania is using money appropriated by Congress to help Americans vote to hire a lobbying firm, founded by a former executive director of the Pennsylvania Republican Party and Mitt Romney fundraiser to develop the ‘community outreach and public relations portion of the 2012 general election voter education media campaign,'” said an incredulous Cost of Freedom leader Faye Anderson. “Are we really to believe that a Republican operative will draft a plan that will empower the very voters targeted by the GOP’s voter suppression by voter ID scheme.”
As many of you know, ALEC and their corporate partners also support both public school deregulation/privatization and voter suppression laws. Interesting alliance, there. Keeps cropping up.