The Pennsylvania Republican Party filed a lawsuit on Friday against Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro Cortes and the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and its subsidiaries.
The announcement was made at a press conference in the State Capitol by Pennsylvania Republican State Chairman Robert Gleason. “With the election being only a couple of weeks away and with more and more incidents of voter fraud coming to light, we don’t believe that we can trust the results of this election,” Gleason said.
It alleges fraud in the counties of Philadelphia, Allegheny (Pittsburgh), Delaware (suburban Philadelphia), and Dauphin (in Central Pennsylvania and site of the state capital of Harrisburg).
Both ACORN representatives and a representative of Pennsylvania’s Democratic Governor, Obama supporter Edward G. Rendell, were present at the press conference and opposed the move in separate presentations of their own.
“ACORN’s fraudulent activities threaten to dilute the votes of millions of Pennsylvania voters by allowing unqualified individuals to cast ballots and again undermine the voters’ confidence in the electoral process in the upcoming election,” added retired Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Sandra Newman. “The Republican Party of Pennsylvania is seeking to obtain relief necessary to ensure that the 2008 General Election is fair, open and honest manner in order to preserve the ability of qualified Pennsylvanians to cast votes.”
The lawsuit was filed in Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court. The suit charges Cortes, a Rendell appointee, with not giving county officials “timely” data to search the state’s computer system to look for fraudulent voter registrations. It seeks an order directing the Secretary of the Commonwealth to ensure that the Statewide Uniform Registry of Elector (SURE) System “provides, in a timely and efficient manner all Election Officials data about registrants ineligible to vote, as required by state and federal law.” It also demands that Cortes “ensure that all Election Officials require identification from all first-time registrants and also demands that the Secretary provide a significantly larger amount of provisional ballots at each polling place so that voters whose voter registration has not been timely processed by Election Officials on or before the day of the 2008 General Election can vote provisionally.”
The state GOP is also asking that ACORN and its subsidiaries be blocked “from all attempts to encourage voters who have submitted false or duplicate registration forms from voting or attempting to vote in the 2008 General Election,” and that the court “directs the ACORN Defendants to provide to the Plaintiffs, the Secretary and the Election Officials copies of any and all lists identifying the names of individuals for whom the ACORN Defendants submitted voter registration forms, and directs the ACORN Defendants to fund public service announcements to educate all first time voters about the requirements to present identification in accordance with state and federal law, whether voting in person or via absentee ballot.”
ACORN officials held their own news conference to accuse the GOP of “voter suppression” targeting minorities in an effort to deny them the vote. It claimed it has registered 144,000 new voters in Pennsylvania with between 60 to 70 percent being identified as “people of color.
Rendell spokesman Chuck Ardo also spoke to reporters, accusing Gleason and the other participants in the suit of being “Republican hatchet men” trying to steer attention from a looming defeat. He described the GOP suit as whining.
Pennsylvania is considered a “battleground” state in the presidential election. Both candidates and their running mates have appeared repeatedly in the state and commercials are flooding the state’s five media markets from Philadelphia in the Southeast to Pittsburgh and Erie in the West.
The ACORN allegation of “voter suppression” comes in the wake of a controversial remark by Pennsylvania Democrat Congressman John Murtha of Johnstown in Western Pennsylvania in which Murtha painted his own constituents as racist, telling the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in an interview that “There is no question that western Pennsylvania is a racist area.” Murtha later apologized.
Are we clear on all this? The state that chose Hillary Clinton over Obama in the Democratic primary is filled with racists because those same voters may actually vote for John McCain. So the answer is to flood the voter rolls with fraudulent voters who are “people of color” who may or may not live at any assortment of vacant lots and empty buildings yet have somehow registered dozens of times.
And the answer from Governor Rendell?
Hey! No problem!!!!
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania, where he is registered to vote just once.