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300 MAIN CAPITOL BUILDING P0 BOX 2021 ~ HARRISBURG. PENNSYLVANIA 171 20’2182 PHONE: 717.787.8529 FAX: 717.787.5066 E-MAIL: RepJosephs@pahouse.net WEBSITE: vn~w.babette,org 1528 WALNUT STREET, SUITE 501 PHftADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA 19102 FAX: 215.560.5816
REPRESENTATIVE OF THE 182ND DISTRICT
CONVENER. THE WOMEN OF THE PENNSYLVANIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY DEMOCRATIC POLICY PHILADELPHIA DELEGATION
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA HARRISBURG
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The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr. Attorney General of the United States U.S. Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington DC 20530-0001 The Honorable Linda Kelly Attorney General Strawberry Square Harrisburg, PA 17120
Dear Attorney General Holder and Attorney General Kelly:
Democratic Chair of the House State Government Committee, as a voter and as a citizen of the United States, I call for an investigation of the actions of Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania relative to the November 6,2012 election and events leading up to that election. In addition, I call for an investigation into the actions and policies of the Election Boards of each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.
Reports are pouring in from across the state about electors who experienced serious difficulties on Election Day or who were not allowed to vote. Many who registered to vote at Public Assistance or PennDOT offices were not in the poll books on Election Day. We’ve heard numerous and credible reports of people who have been registered to vote, who had voted for years, but who were inexplicably not in the poll books for this election. Many citizens have told us they were turned away from the polls because they did not have a photo ID pursuant to Act No.2012-18, even though the Commonwealth Court enjoined that law for this election. The widespread nature and the large number of these reports make it clear that the state and many counties did not properly educate poll workers. The Department of State failed to educate the voters as well. The Department of State posted wrong information on its Spanish-language voter-information website regarding the type of identification that firsttime voters must show. The Department of State did correct the posting after being notified, but many would like to know why it appeared erroneously at all and how many voters were discouraged from coming to the polls because of that “mistake.” The Department of State devoted $5 million of federal taxpayer dollars to design and deploy obnoxious and confusing TV, transit, and radio ads. We would like to have an estimate of how many voters were dissuaded from voting because of these ads. After the Commonwealth Judge enjoined enforcement of photo ID as a condition for voting, the State Department made only the feeblest no attempt to change its ads to reflect the injunction. The only straight talking, plain English, message anyone saw coming from the Department of
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State was an email encouraging voters to rat on their neighbors if they suspected fraud in the polling place. Since the Department of State has no prosecutorial or investigational capacity, many concluded that the Department of State personnel were trying to inflate the “fraud” statistic. In Allegheny County, there are reports that, under the guise of combating alleged voter fraud, the Pennsylvania Republican Party and Pittsburgh tea partiers targeted Pittsburgh precincts with large numbers of African-American voters for intimidation. Students were told they could vote on campus even if they were registered elsewhere. One Allegheny County mother spent 10 hours in her car picking up her son from campus, driving him to Pittsburgh to vote, taking him back to school, and then returning home. This mother took not only her son but three other first time voters to Pittsburgh so they would not be disenfranchised. We would like to know who gave out this false information, and why the messages from the Department of State were so badly designed that these “mistakes” were not instantly understood to be wrong. In central Pennsylvania, a voter trying to cast a ballot for Obama in Millerstown, Perry County, saw the machine switch his vote from President Obama to Romney. The voter notified Perry County elections officials and posted video of it to VouTube. We all know that according to the Associated Press on October 29, 2010, then-Attorney General Corbett on October 28, 2010, with reference to the Philadelphia vote, told supporters in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, “We want to make sure that they don’t get 50 percent. Keep that down” I want 100% of eligible voters who choose to come to the polls or who vote absentee to have their votes counted. I want the use the provisional ballot to be rare, infrequent and confined to emergencies. There is no excuse for forcing over 100 voters in various precincts around the state to use provisional ballots. Some of these individuals had been voting at that same polling place for years and years. Suddenly their names were not in the poll book. We would like to know whether that circumstance was the fault of the Department of State or of the county board of elections. We must find out how these incidents happened, and if we are to preserve freedom in this United States, we must learn from them. Across the world America stands for the right to vote. We were the first. We are the biggest, and I believe we are the best. And it all started in this state and in my city. We are respected around the world for universal participation in the political process. These attempts to deny the franchise to students, urban dwellers, the elderly, racial and language minorities, and to women are beyond disgraceful; they threaten our standing in the international community, and our leadership of the Free World. They must end. Yours,
Babette iosephs Democratic Chair House State 6
fnt Comm tee
cc: Kathleen K! fsq. Attorney General-Elect Eugene Der ~ ale, Auditor General-Elect Seth Williams, Esq. District Attorney Philadelphia