Monday, July 08, 2019

Wolf's Politically Inspired Veto Punishes Counties

Governor Tom Wolf  may pretend he's a regular guy driving a Jeep Wrangler, but the reality is that he's a partisan hack. He just proved it, too. Let me tell you the story.

Last year, in an effort to settle a lawsuit about election security, Wolf ordered all 67 counties to use voting systems with voter-verifiable paper trails in time for next year's Presidential election.  This was an unfunded mandate that cost both Lehigh and Northampton County around $5 million. But we had no reason to fear. Wolf promised to visit the money tree in Harrisburg at budget time.

After some initial reluctance by the GOP, the state legislature finally groaned and agreed to give counties up to $90 million to help reimburse this cost. At last week's NorCo Council meeting, member John Cusick thanked State Senators Lisa Boscola and Mario Scavello for their support. He urged Governor Wolf to sign it.

Guess what? On Friday, Governor Wolf vetoed it. .

Governor Wolf's veto is the result of a provision that also eliminates straight-party voting. This allows a voter to select one political party's complete slate of candidates with a single mark. In his veto message, Wolf reasoned "the isolated removal of a convenient voting option (the straight-party button) would increase waiting times and could discourage participation."

Elimination of the straight-party option made it unacceptable to partisan hacks who happen to be Democrats. In the House, only four Democrats voted for the bill. In the Senate, Boscola was one of only three Democrats to vote Yes.

Locally, all Democratic State Representatives voted against the measure. The last thing Mike Schlossberg, Pete Schweyer, Steve Samuelson or Bob Freeman wants is an informed voter. They want lever pullers. This leads to one-party rule, and the result is political corruption.

Like Fed Ed.

Or Reading's Mayor.

Or Scranton's Mayor.

Ironically, in states where Democrats are a minority, elimination of straight-party voting is favored. In Oklahoma, for example, State Democratic Chair Anna Langthorn decries the practice in her state, saying it enables "uneducated voting."

Here in Pennsylvania, African American lawmakers blasted the elimination of the straight-ticket as a racist attempt to suppress voting by those with limited literacy or access to information.

In defending this arcane and outdated practice, these so-called representatives have slurred the intelligence of the voiceless they pretend to champion

Pennsylvania is one of only eight states that still allow straight-party voting.

What kills me is that this is a pretty good compromise bill.  Counties get some badly needed money to comply with Wolf's imperial decree. In addition, the vetoed bill would expanded absentee-voting deadlines. In other words, it would make voting more inclusive. Under current law, absentee ballots must be received by the elections office no later than the Friday before an election. Ballots received after that date, no matter when postmarked, are rejected.

Under the vetoed changes, elections officials would be required to accept absentee ballots received as long as a week after the election, so long as they were post-marked the Friday before the election.

Since this was a close vote, I doubt there's any ability to override Wolf's political veto. Besides, there are partisan hacks in the GOP, too, and they love the idea of blaming Wolf and Democrats for screwing counties.

NorCo Council member John Cusick said he is disappointed at Wolf's veto of compromise legislation, saying it has created a "massive unfunded mandate on local property taxpayers across the Commonwealth." Executive Lamont McClure echoed the disappointment, but he adds, "[W]e remain convinced Governor Wolf will make good on his promise to the counties."

And my rent check's in the mail.

NorCo Council Prez Ron Heckman and Peg Ferraro want the state legislature and Governor Wolf to do the right  thing and resolve their differences.

Why start now?

My own view is that counties will never see a dime from the state.

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

Isn’t the elimination of straight party vote a poison pill? And aren’t poison pills inserted into bills viewed as “must sign” bills in an attempt to get something one party wants that it knows is unacceptable to the other party? Pull that out of the bill and you get a veto proof bill and a signature from the governor. Seems obvious there is partisanship on both sides, and that you neglected to call it that way. The question is why? What’s your agenda?

Moontrance said...

don't forget political hack puppet donchez

Anonymous said...

5:25, who cares? Do you support straight party voting? When is a good time to end the practice (if not in voting related legislation) that 40 of 50 states already have?

Anonymous said...

Would have passed if they were separate bills. Republicans are beholden to Big Gas and talk a good game and love to spend but don't want to fund it. Stop bundling bills.

Anonymous said...

I truly believe that Wolf has been trying to show off to the national party in an attempt to become a Vice President candidate from a key swing state. Pennsylvanians did not elect this guy based on his far left radical politics, he truly is a Wolf dressed in sheep clothing; he never campaigned on this type of a radical agenda. He is self serving.

Anonymous said...

Wolf has attempted to raise taxes and spending every year, he has not endorsed any reforms, pension reform, school tax reform or anything to make Pennsylvania more competitive. He has now created an environment where pa. will be destined to lose business and population. As for voting straight line. It is a choice that the voters should have.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Isn’t the elimination of straight party vote a poison pill? "

No, it is a legitimate reform that exists inmost states, and if Wolf were relly interested in doing the right thing, he'd sign the bill. But he is a partisan hack.

Anonymous said...

5:25. Exactly, not to mention the info he left out about how Michigan put straight party voting back in and the head of the RNC there testified that the reason they got rid of it was because they calculated it gave them a 4% advantage. Not to mention PA's Republicans who stated their worried Trump hatred will hurt down ballot Repubs. This was indeed a poison pill. The funding was going into the budget cleanly originally but was pulled at the last minute and bundled with this. Lisa Boscola is a DINO, so if we're talking about political hacks let's point the finger there.

Anonymous said...

African American politicians said eliminating straight party voting is racist. Will any in the Democrat or Republican party or the media stand up and call them out on it? Sadly the oppression of the poor and minorities is football tossed back and forth between the political parties. As always follow the money. "Helping the poor and minorities' can be very profitable for some of the "helpers". Bernie, doesn't it make your head want to explode sometimes?

Anonymous said...

This isn't a poison pill at all. We don't want the right to choose not to choose taken away!

People who vote straight party are wastes of space anyway. The right to vote is held so dearly unless it involves going out of your way to do.

Anonymous said...

the political class is only looking out for themselves

Anonymous said...

You claim this issue is "archaic"? If you want true reform we must do away with the electoral college and give the presidency to the individual with the most votes. My vote doesn't mean a thing when it is based on something other than a popular vote. Let's take it a step further. Let's do away with "gerrymandering" of districts. Let's really do it right and tell Lisa Boscola and her political hacks to implement term limits. If you can't accomplish what you set out to do in ten years than regardless of your record, you must leave office. What you say??????? That isn't fair? All these politicians live in a world where the sun shines on them and you nor anyone else is going to change that until the people come out to vote and that is not going to happen in The United States because almost all voters are fat dumb and happy. Every ones elected senator is bad except mine. I do not vote for anyone in office more than eight years, including Judges. Ifit is good enough for the presidency it should be good enough for Lisa Boscola.

Anonymous said...

Seems that in a true good faith compromise, the GOP would give something in return for the straight-party vote elimination. The straight party vote apparently helps Democrats. This was a poison pill. I'm surprised you don't recognize that and view Harrisburg as apolitical.

Anonymous said...

I truly believe that Wolf has been trying to show off to the national party in an attempt to become a Vice President candidate from a key swing state. Pennsylvanians did not elect this guy based on his far left radical politics, he truly is a Wolf dressed in sheep clothing; he never campaigned on this type of a radical agenda. He is self serving.

It is simply incredible what Trumpublicans think of as "radical" these days. Wow.

Anonymous said...

People who vote straight party are wastes of space anyway.

Why? I rarely if ever vote for a Republican. Why is that wrong? Republicans are tainted and have been for 2 decades.

E Mest said...

I vote for the person no matter what their affiliation. Long lines, so be it. If there is someone running on my ticket I don’t want to give my vote to, I go down the list and pick and choose who I want. Many times there are good people I’d like to vote for that I can’t. I agree Bernie, Gov Wolf should not have vetoed this. But I do believe counties will get help with this expense.

Anonymous said...

Pa is a swing vote state in the next Presidential Election. Pa must preserve the ignorant voter who only knows to hit one button. Wolfe had to veto. Bus them in and instruct them on which button to push.

Anonymous said...

Did he sign the Browne law to knock down the state hospital?

Anonymous said...

Republicans ate tainted? What does that mean? The New Democratic Party is anti American-plain & simple socialists bordering on communism ideology.

Anonymous said...

9:21 - Single line voters are wastes of space. It doesn't matter what party they single line vote for. If I find you a single line Republican would you abstain from voting if they did? I'm interested in saving your time as a humanitarian issue. I just want was is best which is what is easiest for you, buddy.

Anonymous said...

E. Mest why can't you vote for them? In a general election you can still vote for whomever you want. The party button just gives you another option.

Anonymous said...

9:21 - Single line voters are wastes of space. It doesn't matter what party they single line vote for. If I find you a single line Republican would you abstain from voting if they did? I'm interested in saving your time as a humanitarian issue. I just want was is best which is what is easiest for you, buddy.

Again who am I voting for on the Republican ticket? Trump? Ha. Barletta? Bwahahaha. Nothstein? Bwahaha Hahahahahahaha!

C'mon now.

The only time I consider a Repub is local elections which really isn't what we're talking about here. Repubs want to get rid of it because they know the anti-Trump vote will be so huge, they don't want to go down with him. (See 2018.)

Anonymous said...

Open primaries and elimination of straight line voting benefit the party with fewer registered voters. At least one poster has admitted this vs. suggesting that minority voters are too stupid to vote individual candidates. If Ds view it as a poison pill, it's because they're afraid of what might happen when voters get to think and choose.

Anonymous said...

I think it is racism to think that blacks can't think for themselves, be informed about the candidates for elected office and vote intelligently. I think the real racists out there are the Democrats who think blacks can only understand a straight ticket level pull. Good post on an important issue that would have been overlooked in the regular media.

Anonymous said...

Overlooked in the regular media?? This was a front page article in the Morning Call. O'Hare is NOT the only valley news source...he just thinks he is.

Anonymous said...

Party hacks control the system for the benefit of party hacks.
It’s a criminal enterprise.

Anonymous said...

Both rotten political parties are afraid of Third Parties.
This is all about quashing democracy.

Anonymous said...

all dems want to do is wreck this country they are anti American...

Bernie O'Hare said...

” If you want true reform we must do away with the electoral college”

This is off topic, but elimination of the electoral college is no reform. You may as well do away with the Constitution. I would strongly oppose any effort that will result in a tyranny of the majority. Lest you forget, we are a Democratic republic, but not a direct democracy. I am unhappy with Trump’s election, but not enough to resort to mob rule.

Bernie O'Hare said...

” O'Hare is NOT the only valley news source...he just thinks he is.”

This is far from true. I consider myself a complement to other news services. I usually only cover one to three items per day.

Jeff Fox said...

Anonymous @ July 8, 2019 at 9:08 AM posted...

"If you want true reform we must do away with the electoral college and give the presidency to the individual with the most votes. My vote doesn't mean a thing when it is based on something other than a popular vote."

To eliminate the electoral college, the constitution must be changed. Article II specifically. Amending the constitution does not happen overnight. Purposely. The electoral college encourages coalition building and national campaigning because it requires a diverse group of voters from all around the country. The electoral college allows for every state and every voter and vote to matter. Meaning 51% of the voters cannot tyrannize the other 49%. The electoral college also makes it more difficult to "steal" an election because it makes it quite difficult to predict which states will matter most. Therefore, no one knows which votes to "steal". In a popular vote, votes "stolen" anywhere can impact the outcome of an election. The electoral college has been an integral part of the United States election process spelled out in the constitution.

Anonymous said...

10:12 AM -- You missed my point, guy. If you only single line vote democrat, and I find a person who only single line votes republican, would you agree to save time and not vote if the other person agreed as well?

I didn't suggest you vote republican or not. Reading comprehension skills needed. I could care less who if it's an R or a D. Answer the question.

Anonymous said...

All the Trump haters who want to scrap the US Constitution because they lost an election should take a deep breath and stop acting crazy. The day that California and New York get to decide everything for all Americans would be a real dark day, could lead to a breakup of this great country. Lets stick to the constitution and your candidates can try to beat Trump fair and square by winning Texas and Florida

Anonymous said...

10:15 AM
Nails it.

It's just Wolf's republicanism showing through with this pro-republican decision.

Wolf is not a democratic partisan hack, he's a democratic partisan quisling.

Anonymous said...

Don’t like the Electoral Collage?
Change the Constitution,or STFU!

Anonymous said...

Republican leaders have admitted this legislative action is to curtail "low information" democratic voters. A state official admitted this move is helpful to the republicans. Stop pretending this is some wonderful fix for democracy. If people want to vote straight for either party, let them. It is funny that power to the people is only when it is dictated by party leaders.

Just because your mancrush Cusick wants this it is just his usual shot at a democrat governor. Boscola knows she is bulletproof and is using her vote as tender for future republican consideration.

Here is your compromise decouple the money from this partisan legislation. Vote on the money part alone. If necessary, have the legislative language take effect as of January 2121. See how willing to compromise your Republican buddies are then.

Anonymous said...

Yes, vote on the money now and let the legislation go into effect in 2121. That takes the republican fear of the Trump effect out of the picture. It won't happen and Bernie will damn it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

2:03, you are obviously one of the partisan hacks. In states where Dems are in the minority, like OK, they clamor for this reform. But you want to keep an archaic system for the lever pullers.

Anonymous said...

Voter suppression laws are sneaky but they all have one thing in common; drive down democratic votes. Many people prefer to vote one party and the current system helps them. Instead, the social engineering republicans and up have some bogus reason about "freedom" that is actually a limiting action on voters.

Lifetime pols like Boscola don't give a shot about anyone but herself. This will in fact create problems with some voters, primarily democratic voters. That is why so many republican leaders across the enation have said it will.

Stop the bullshit. Vote for the money part then have a vote on the rest. Why not? If it is so great they will have no problem putting it through. I like the after the 2020 election part. That is the only reason the PA republicans are for it right now.

Anonymous said...

Another attempt by mean ol' Republicans to disenfranchise the poor and people of color. Everyone knows these folks are too stupid to figure out how to check more than one box, how to properly use a punch card ballot, and most of all, how to figure out how to show up at the voting booth with a valid ID, which they need for virtually everything else they do in life.

At least that's what liberals tell us anyway.

And in case some genius is confused, let me add a /sarc.

Anonymous said...

wolf is a politician that explains it

Anonymous said...

The number of Independents is growing. One party is afraid of them. It's really that simple. Hint: it's the one we just read about that's bleeding voters at an exponentially higher rate than their opposition.

Anonymous said...

It shows how idiotic you are. Democrats have been tainted since the Tammany Hall era.

Anonymous said...

Yet the noble republicans will not vote for the county money without there voter suppression language attached. Also no mass of PA citizens have asked for the elimination of straight party voting. This is a republican tactic to suppress the vote. They have used it successfully in other states and are holding the counties hostage to get their way.

Stop your red hat partisan nonsense. You have no clue because you are brainwashed. If you believe in the people having their frights, why take away something that they did not ask you to take away?

Anonymous said...

"If you believe in the people having their frights..."

Then vote Democratic.

Jeff Fox said...

Many seem to be agitated simply because if a voter chooses to vote a straight party ticket, they will need to press a few more buttons. That doesn't seem too difficult to me. They still would have the option of voting a straight party ticket. Those who blindly vote straight party can still be instructed on how to do so. I don't understand all the fuss. Voter suppression? Really? It may not be quite as convenient. We truly are a spoiled and entitled people. Those who blindly vote straight party can still be instructed on how to do so.

Anonymous said...

At this time people have the freedom to vote a straight ticket or pick and choose for each office. The so-called freedom loving libertarian/republicans want to take away one of those freedoms away. Funny how that works. Limiting a voters current choices is now described as some new freedom and right.

Wrap it in a new package but it is still BS and voter suppression.

Give us all a break.

Anonymous said...


2:03, you are obviously one of the partisan hacks. In states where Dems are in the minority, like OK, they clamor for this reform. But you want to keep an archaic system for the lever pullers.


Many prominent Republicans call for exactly that - lever pulling for Democrats - to punish their own party for embracing Trumpism. Never Trumpers believe that the party needs to be destroyed before it can come back to earth.

Just look at the number of people who post here saying Democrats what to destroy the country and are anti-American. This rhetoric is hateful and has no place in our country.

Jeff Fox said...

Anonymous @ July 9, 2019 at 11:47 AM


Nobody is taking anyone else's freedom(s) away. You would still be allowed to vote a straight party ticket. Not just with one button. You call that a loss of freedom? Apparently, you have no idea of how true loss of freedom(s) may manifest. Voter suppression? Puhleez!