HARRISBURG, Penn. — In an ongoing push for stricter voter identification laws, Pennsylvania has issued a list of obscure and generally inaccessible items that Pennsylvania voters must ascertain before entering the voting booth.
Pennsylvania, a swing state, is one of several states that have recently passed laws requiring a government-issued photo ID to vote. Though such laws are expected to disenfranchise 11% of voters nationwide – particularly blacks, Latinos, and youth voters –the president’s persistent lead in the polls over challenger Mitt Rommey has pressured Republican legislators in Pennsylvania to enact policies that further will complicate the voting process.
The scavenger hunt has been criticized for requiring items that are especially difficult for minorities and working class Americans to obtain. These include a receipt for Sperry boat shoes, a photo of the voter displayed on his or her iPhone 5, and a book report on “Atlas Shrugged,” no longer than two pages for the convenience of the graders.
“The fact is, it is easy and affordable to forge a credible government-issue photo ID,” said Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-PA). “I think it’s a reasonable preventative measure to require voters to bring a signed copy of Marco Rubio’s ‘An American Son’ with the autograph made out to their name.”
Despite Metcalfe’s justification of such a sudden and extreme measure to combat voter fraud – which constitutes .0004% of all votes – there has been mixed response to the law.
“It’s not that I couldn’t buy this stuff, you know, if I saved for a few months,” said Samuel Broom, a 26-year-old journalist with two children and heavy student loans, “but the election is like a month away.”
Perhaps the most controversial article on the scavenger hunt list is number 17: a physical photograph of a Mississippi memorial dedicated to three civil rights workers who were lynched by the Ku Klux Klan. The requirement has been called unreasonable, and its inclusion a blatant mockery of suffrage equality.
On Election Day, Republican voters may find that they have a significant advantage in completing the scavenger hunt, as all items on the list will be delivered to any registered Republicans by the same taxi that will drive them to a nearby polling station.