Today the Pennsylvania House passed HB 934, the ALEC Voter Suppression Bill of 2012, by a vote 104-88 of. We strongly condemn this effort to silence the voices of the 99%. During the redistricting hearing last fall, we proclaimed that, “Governments don't pick us. We pick the Government." This is another attempt, like the unconstitutional redistricting maps, by those given temporary power to create permanent power without asking for the opinion of the voters.
Occupy Harrisburg considers this another battle in the war against the poor in Pennsylvania. Not only is the Governor proposing drastic cuts to social services and education, but he and the legislature are increasing efforts to silence voices of the poor with HB 934. This bill will cost the PA taxpayers an additional $11 million to implement. Significant barriers remain to obtaining birth certificates to obtain the "free" Voter ID. This could potentially prevent up to 691,000 citizens from voting. Additionally, the $11 million price tag would be better spent on the programs that are slated for funding cuts, including education and the complete removal of general cash assistance. Since many legislators feel it appropriate that the poor in our state get their birth certificates, we call on every legislator who voted for this unnecessary piece of legislation to provide his/her birth certificate. We will be keeping a tally on our website at occupyharrisburg.org/vote and physically at our Occupation.
When asked about obtaining her birth certificate, occupier and programmer Marie Baldys said, "People have no idea how daunting it can be for any regular person to try to get a birth certificate. If it's that difficult for someone like me, it has to be insurmountably terrifying for someone living on the streets, and those are the people the government needs to hear from the most!"
Tyler Chick, occupier and Harrisburg resident, pointed out how no one had campaigned on this and it proves the "need for more direct democracy."
Because of this unnecessary over-reach by the defenders of the 1% within the PA Legislature and a governor who's spoken in the past about keeping the vote down, we will begin actively registering people to vote at our Occupation, and encourage everyone to do so in their community. We don't endorse candidates, but encourage everyone across the Commonwealth to take this bill into account as they head to the polls. This is just the first step in a nationwide effort by a small group of people to restrict voting. As you cast your ballot, ask yourself if the person you're voting for may be plotting to make sure it's your last.
Occupy Harrisburg has been occupying outside the Harrisburg State Capitol for over 151 days.
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