The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


February 2, 2014

Robert Gleason | Media brushes aside voter irregularities

JOHNSTOWN — The editorial from the York Dispatch that was published on Jan. 27 in The Tribune-Democrat regarding voter ID was deeply troubling and flawed.

The media continues to erroneously and sensationally report that a voter ID law in Pennsylvania is a means to disenfranchise voters. It is not.

This law is a means to protect the integrity of the voting process because a simple and unfortunate fact remains – voter fraud is very real in Pennsylvania.

Many in the media brushed aside the July 2012 report issued from Philadelphia Commissioner Al Schmidt, which uncovered hundreds of voting irregularities in less than 1 percent of the Philadelphia voting precincts examined during the 2012 primary.

And when it was reported that former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney received zero votes in 59 wards in Philadelphia during the 2012 Presidential Election, not an eyebrow was raised or question asked among the media. In fact, many cheered it.

Can you imagine if President Obama had received zero votes in 59 voting wards anywhere in the United States? The outcry of voter fraud would have been overwhelming.

As a voter, I don’t scoff at these issues, but I do scoff at the media’s ongoing reporting and analysis of such. I question how the media continues to purport voter ID as an infringement upon personal rights despite the knowledge that voting irregularities continue to affect our elections.

How can the media justify a position that allows a voting irregularity in Philadelphia to cause my vote here in Johnstown not to be counted?

Our election process is worth protecting, and voter ID is just one important remedy to the issue.

This is not a law designed to prevent thousands of citizens from voting. Rather, it is a means to guarantee that millions can confidently vote, knowing their ballot will be counted.

We have critical elections ahead of us, and the thought that voter fraud might affect the outcome of any of these races is disturbing to me. And it should be to all citizens in the commonwealth. Too much is at stake.

I don’t disagree that voting is our most precious right, but I wholly disagree that having to present identification at the polls limits that right in any substantive way. I look forward to the day when we can all go to the polls knowing that our votes will all be counted.

Robert A. Gleason Jr. is chairman of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania.

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