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Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Are voting reforms needed in PA?

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Nov 23, 2015 9:00 AM
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What to look on Smart Talk Monday, November 23, 2015:

Voter turnout for the election held earlier this month in Pennsylvania was under 25%.  That means less than a quarter of the electorate decided the men and women who would serve as judges, county commissioners, and mayors.   It was what is generally referred to as an "off-year" election.  Voters usually come out in higher numbers when they are voting for president or governor.

However, in 2012 when President Obama was elected to a second term, Pennsylvania ranked 29th in the country in voter participation.

A coalition of advocacy and community groups wants to make voting easier and more convenient.

Keystone Votes -- The Coalition for Modern Elections is campaigning for optional vote by mail, in-person early voting, same-day registration and youth preregistration.

We'll discuss the proposals on Monday's Smart Talk with Ray Murphy, Deputy Director of PA Voice, Stephanie Monahon, Director of PennPirg, and Susan Carty, president of the Pennsylvania League of Women Voters and Barry Kauffman Executive Director of Common Cause Pennsylvania.

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Ray Murphy, Stephanie Monahon and Barry Kauffman

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  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-11-23 09:37

    Kim emails:

    I wanted to know what other states have supported these different ideas that the panelists are talking about? How long have they been in place?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-11-23 09:37

    Tom in Carlisle emails:

    As Grandma always told us, “If you don’t vote, you lose the right to complain.”

    If not voting to “send a message,” well, nobody is listening.

  • Lisa img 2015-11-23 09:38

    I would like to see reforms for voting that not only allow on-line voting, but also allow for all parties to be included in the primaries. It is absolutely ridiculous that taxpayers are forced to pay for the primary elections of only the 2 major parties. Either eliminate taxpayer funded primary elections or open them up for all parties.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-11-23 09:39

    Lance emails:

    I have voted every major election for the past 25 years.

    I have rarely voted in a primary or a "minor" election.

    The primary, I did not vote because I did not want to declare myself a democrat or republican. I have given up that idealist position and registered as a republican because I realize this is the only way I can have any voice at all; I believe there might be a choice still to be made when the republican primary reaches PA, I do not believe there will be any question as to who the democratic candidate will be.

    I did not vote in the recent "off year" election because I quite literally had no idea who was running. I don't feel comfortable voting for someone simply because they are registered democrat or republican, I have seen members of both parties who I would be proud to have represent me and members of both parties I would be ashamed of.

    Once upon a time I would get a newsletter from the League of Women's Voters which would do a good job of presenting information on all "my" candidates in
    a non-biased manner. The last several times I have voted, I have had no idea who was running, much less what they stood for or what their histories were.

    I am saddened that in this modern information age, that there doesn't seem to be a way to get a tailored list of all the candidates and issues that someone living at my home address can vote for. Just doesn't seem to exist.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-11-23 09:40

    Lisa emails:

    I have several friends who travel regularly for work, but usually don't know enough ahead of time if they are going to be out of the area on election day to apply for absentee ballots. This is a perfect example of why on-line voting is needed.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-11-23 09:40

    Richard in Lancaster emails:

    Many proponents of easier registration and voting state that these systems are proven in other states and they hold up Maryland as an example.

    My mother-in-law lives in MD. She has lived in the US with a green card for 50 years but is not a citizen. Every time she goes to renew her driver’s license, they tell her that they see she is not registered to vote and would like to register her. Each time she has to tell them that she is not allowed to vote. If their data base shows she is not registered why does it not show that she is not a citizen and not eligible?

    A second example from MD: I know an individual who has homes in MD and FL. They registered to vote in both locations and proceeded to vote in both locations for the President. This voter fraud only came out when they were the Democratic nominee for congress and some one who know about it told the press.

    Why are these registration data bases not cross referenced?

    These types of situations where the data bases are not linked leads to a lack of trust in impersonal voting.


  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-11-23 09:45

    Bob emails:

    Where we lived in MD we received candidate information in the mail from LWV here in rural communities one must go on-line and search and then nothing on local candidates . We also received sample ballot in MD, none found here.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-11-23 09:46

    Terry in Chambersburg emails:

    I want to comment on the issue of an informed electorate.

    My newspaper in the state where I lived prior to moving to Pennsylvania was more helpful to its readers during the election season. Before an election they printed a facsimile of the voting form; they also printed the public questions and a statement explaining, in plain language, what each actually meant. They also printed a bio of the candidates.

    Why can't my local newspaper here do the same?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-11-23 09:47

    Michael (a former PA resident) emails:

    ‎If one is too lazy to make the effort to get out, America is better off without your input. This is more a question of apathy than any "burden".

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-11-23 09:50

    Chuck emails:

    I can’t comment on the prevalence of voter fraud in Pennsylvania or elsewhere, but it has happened in our lifetimes: In 1994 a Federal judge invalidated a state Senate election because of fraud on the part of the victor’s campaign.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1994/02/19/us/vote-fraud-ruling-shifts-pennsylvania-senate.html

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-11-23 09:57

    Gerard in Lititz emails:

    http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2012-09-14/news/bs-md-wendy-rosen-withdraws-20120910_1_wendy-rosen-maryland-democratic-party-general-election

    http://www.heritage.org/research/commentary/2013/4/suit-filed-over-doj-refusal-to-clean-up-voter-rolls

    http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2012/04/20/philly-election-officials-take-up-gop-complaints/

    Potential Voting Fraud

    I have missed very, very few opportunities to vote in over two score years as a Voter. I have been deployed thousands of miles from my voting poll, yet I still voted. Frankly I don't understand why an individual in our Country, or Commonwealth, will not exercise their right to vote. I firmly disagree with supporting a citizen's apathy to their vote by bending over backwards to allow someone to register and vote on the same day.

    The first hyperlink shows that a potential candidate for Congress registered in both Florida and Maryland, and VOTED in both States during the same elections.

    The second hyperlink describes selective enforcement of U.S. Federal Law by the U.S. Department of Justice. Today the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division selectively ensures that certain States (under Federal Law) are extensively monitored based upon historical barriers thrown in front of Voters of Color. That is okay, but the same U.S. Department of Justice should ensure that Voter rolls should be cleaned.

    The third hyperlink indicates that fraud may have occurred in Philadelphia, PA during the 2012 Election cycle.

    Your guests should discuss how their proposed options should be established to minimize fraud and manipulation on Election Days. Your guests may be proposing options that may corrupt the voting process.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-11-23 09:58

    Edith in York emails:

    Maybe instead of worrying about voter fraud and how to get people to vote, we should be worrying
    about the selection of candidates and the whole election process and politics as
    now practiced in the state and country.

    This voter studies the candidates and issues and has only missed one or two elections
    since turning 21 back in the dark ages. However, I wonder why I should bother when
    not matter what I try voting wise I end up with legislators who do not work for the
    benefit of the state as currently evidenced by the budget deadlock. The issue of Kane
    raises its ugly head as well.

    Maybe many citizens of Pennsylvania feel as I do—voters and non-voters alike.

  • Robert D Colgan img 2015-11-24 08:24

    I called and said that all voters should be required to vote and that we need a public referendum in Pennsylvania. None of the speakers addressed these issues. . ..not sure why they did not.
    If voting is coupled to citizenship it becomes an integrated part of that citizenship----as it stands now only a small number of people feel that way --most do not. A more active citizenship would lead to a more connected body politic.
    As for public referendum? Without it the legislators continue to run the show their way...the status quo favors them, favors their continuance. It is obvious we do NOT have responsible representation in PA.

  • Robert D Colgan img 2015-11-24 08:25

    I called and said that all voters should be required to vote and that we need a public referendum in Pennsylvania. None of the speakers addressed these issues. . ..not sure why they did not.
    If voting is coupled to citizenship it becomes an integrated part of that citizenship----as it stands now only a small number of people feel that way --most do not. A more active citizenship would lead to a more connected body politic.
    As for public referendum? Without it the legislators continue to run the show their way...the status quo favors them, favors their continuance. It is obvious we do NOT have responsible representation in PA.