Tasty Fruit from the Voter ID Tree

09/21/2012 02:07 pm ET | Updated Nov 21, 2012

Democrats in Pennsylvania have an opportunity to turn the tables completely around on the GOP.

They can turn Governor Tom Corbett into a lame duck governor.

They can actually take back the legislature.

The GOP has overreached on the voter ID laws. Say what you want about having voter ID, but the real reason the Democrats can parlay this 8-month gaffe (yes, it was signed back in March) into an epic win is taxes.

To paraphrase Allen Iverson:

Taxes -- yeah, we're talking about taxes.

The GOP's Achilles' heel in all of this was how to pay for implementation of this law. They did not budget properly and as a result the Democrats can turn the entire voter ID mess into an issue of fiscal management -- you know -- TAXES.

If the Democratic Party or Jack Wagner, the Democratic auditor general, can quickly come up with a legitimate time-and-motion study showing the direct and indirect costs of implementing this law they will have a basis to attack the GOP.

Some direct state government costs can include:

  • How much did it cost to draft the law?
  • How much time was spent in committees bantering this around?
  • Once the law was passed there were a number of dog-and-pony shows across the state where people could ask state officials about this law; the people from the PA Department State had to be paid to get there.
  • How much is the state spending to continually challenge this law in court?
  • How much has been spent in notifying the public? There are mailers being sent out, newspaper ads placed, commercials produced.
  • How much is this costing PennDot? Since they are the keepers of the ID cards, there are new costs of producing and distributing these Ids.

At the county level some indirect costs include training the existing poll workers as well as adding significantly more poll workers to process this election. These costs are borne not by the state but the county. So your county taxes have to go up.

Now let's look at the indirect costs. Each taxpayer's time is money. Each voter has to go through the motions of actually checking if they can vote. If they do not have the proper ID, they have to make an effort to get to the place where they can get the ID. So you have traveling costs associated with this -- the state is making you spend gas or bus fare to vote.

These are small samples of the rippling effects of a poorly planned law.

Once the Democrats come up with a total dollar value associated with this debacle, they can turn around and call it a tax increase based on government waste. If there is an injunction placed on this law, the waste of those dollars is amplified 10 times over.

The issue becomes the GOP cannot manage money properly. This is the reason why Pennsylvania has one of the most expensive legislatures in the country -- they put together half-baked laws without respect to the costs or damages of their actions.

If the Democrats want to deliver the blow using the educational system, divide the massive amount of wasted money by the 500 or so school districts.

Inform the voters the cost of that voter ID card before they walk into the polls.

Customized literature goes into every home stating clearly, that the local school district would have been able to afford another teacher or program, but because the GOP-controlled state cannot handle the cash, we can't have nice things.