Corbett hires friendly law firm for the Voter ID case

    One reason the judge in the Pennsylvania voter ID case said he upheld the law was that he was convinced that while probably tens of thousands of Pennsylvania voters lack the photo ID required under the new law, they could get identification with reasonable effort.

    In the real world, things look different.

    Read the story Daily News columnist Ronnie Polaneczky tells of what an 85-year-old Fishtown woman and her daughter went through trying to get her a PennDOT ID.

    And then there’s Jim Kramer, the Mad Money guy on TV. He hails from Pennsylvania, and recently tweeted that his father, “a vet, won’t be allowed to vote in Pa. because he does not drive, he is elderly, and can’t prove his citizenship.”

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    Kramer later tweeted that PennDOT had seen his plea and intervened to make sure his dad could vote. He’s lucky he had a prominent son.

    When I read stories like Kramer’s I wonder, how does his dad not have photo ID? Doesn’t he do banking?

    But the fact is that tens of thousands of people, many elderly, don’t have identification that meets the requirements of the Pennsylvania law.

    A lot of other countries require ID to vote, but they have a national ID system, which we don’t in the United States. So we’re a long way from a place where every qualified voter has what he or she needs to meet the requirements of this law.

    And it was clear in the arguments in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court some justices thought that if a photo ID requirement is imposed, more time is needed to permit compliance.

    Following the money

    And you simply must read the piece by veteran Inquirer reporter Bob Warner about his attempts to get the administration of Gov. Tom Corbett to admit that it had hired Philadelphia’s Drinker, Biddle & Reath law firm to defend the state in the voter ID case, even though the state attorney general’s office had successfully handled it in Commonwealth Court.

    Warner details his communications with the Corbett team, and it’s hard not to conclude they deliberately misled him about the fact that they’d committed to pay $75,000 to the firm, which had supported him politically.

    Read to the end of the piece to get the critical assistance the Drinker firm provided Corbett in his first run for state attorney general in 2004, when there was a legal battle over the fact that Corbett got $480,000, an unheard of sum for such a race, from an out-of-state organization that refused to disclose its donors.

    The story is a reminder of why it’s good to have experienced reporters on the job. Warner did stories on the massive contributions of the Republican State Leadership Committee eight years ago when he was at the Daily News, and when the Drinker firm came up again, it rang a bell.




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