Thursday, April 13, 2006


Ed Rendell is in a tight reelction campaign against Pittsburgh Steeler great and Pro Football Hall of Famer Lynn Swann. He’s got reason to be worried. Actually, he’s got lots of reasons to be worried and Swann is most of those reasons. What he’s got going for him is what’s John Fund calls “A Rich History of Corruption”.

Democrats claim anything that impedes or discourages someone from voting is a violation of the Voting Rights Act. Republicans insist the state’s rancid history of voter fraud requires preventive measures. The conflict of visions, to borrow Thomas Sowell’s phrase, couldn’t be more complete.
Take the bill the GOP-controlled Legislature passed, which would require voters show a form of official ID or a utility bill; another bill would end Philadelphia’s bizarre practice of locating over 900 polling places in private venues, including bars, abandoned buildings and even the office of a local state senator. City officials admit their voter rolls are stuffed with phantoms. The city has about as many registered voters as it has adults, and is thus a rich breeding ground for fraud.
But Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell vetoed both bills last month, saying that in a time of voter apathy “the government should be doing everything it can to encourage greater participation.”

The fact that there’s “phantoms” on the voter rolls should cause honorable people to actively clean up the situtation. As we can see, Rendell isn’t in a hurry to clean anything up, especially when he’s in a tight race. It seems that the most consistent voting block for Democrats aren’t blacks. That might surprise you but it’s actually phantoms. I’d doubt that any exit polling data exists on this but I wouldn’t be surprised if 100 percent of all phantom voters voted Democratic, especially in Philadelphia.

In 1998, Austin Murphy, a former Democratic congressman, pleaded guilty to fraudulently voting absentee ballots for nursing-home residents near Pittsburgh.
But Mr. Rendell’s history doesn’t inspire confidence that he takes fraud of any kind seriously. In 1994, Philadelphia Democrat Bill Stinson was booted from office as a state senator by a federal judge who found his campaign had rounded up 250 tainted absentee ballots. Mr. Rendell, then Philadelphia’s mayor, had this reaction to the Stinson scandal: “I don’t think it’s anything that’s immoral or grievous, but it clearly violates the election code.”

In one sentence, Rendell argues that requiring a picture ID would disenfranchise elderly and minority voters. In the next, he’s saying that violating “the election code” isn’t immoral, just illegal. I wonder how many Pennsylvanians would agree with Mr. Rendell’s opinion on the persistent voting fraud perpetrated by sleazy politicians like Rendell.

The truth, the ugly truth, is that Rendell’s worried that Swann will beat him if it’s a fair election. And we all know that a politician’s most developed instinct is political survival.

The only hope we have of cleaning up the electoral system is to have honorable politicians who believe in winning elections by the rules. Clearly, that description doesn’t fit Mr. Rendell. That’s just one great reason for Pennsylvanians to run Rendell’s corruption machine out of office.

Still, many liberals insist fraud isn’t an issue in Pennsylvania. “Show us the fraud,” said Elizabeth Milner, chairman of the state’s League of Women Voters, urging a veto of voter ID. Well, Donna Hope of Philadelphia can show her, because in 2004 an organizer for Voting is Power, an offshoot of the Muslim American Society, registered her to vote despite her admission that she was a noncitizen. Although she was turned away from the polls for that reason that November, someone eventually voted in her name.

Only a corrupt person could look at that proof and deny the existence of a problem. Only someone who believes that the ends justifies the means could tolerate that type of voter fraud.

I hope the RNC runs ads citing Democratic voter fraud convictions from across the country. It’s time we put the Democratic corruption machine on alert. This isn’t Kuchma’s Ukraine. This isn’t Chavez’s Venezuela. The American people deserve better than that.

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