Non-citizen voting in Philadelphia looks more feature than bug

Hey, it was just a glitch.  Not a feature, just a bug.

Such is the timid "narrative" Philadelphia's city commissioner, Al Schmidt, would have you believe, even though he's the city's electoral overseer, who brought up the matter of more than 1,160 ineligible immigrants registered to vote in U.S. elections in his home state of Pennsylvania, with 317 of them in Philadelphia.  And those are the honest ones who realized they were registered and voting illegally and who wanted their registrations canceled.

The problem emerged from a computer flaw in the city's motor-voter registration system that allowed declared non-citizens to register to vote anyway.  Schmidt said the voting was probably accidental.  It didn't affect the outcome of the election.  It wasn't fraud.  Blah, blah, blah.  But he suspected that the problem was more widespread than Philadelphia and wanted a full state audit of all districts for this problem.

That's where we see something a lot less than timid in the reaction from Pennsylvania's state officials, who actually set up and count the votes, who projected indifference.  CBS reports:

Secretary of State Pedro Cortes issued a statement saying PennDOT is changing its system to prevent the problem in the future and has already made improvements. He did not address reviewing and cross checking registrations statewide. A spokeswoman for Cortes said they are conducting their own review.

Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the reaction from the governor's office was that 'it's always been this way,' and by the way, he's the hero.

J.J. Abbott, [Gov. Tom] Wolf's press secretary, pushed back.

"Let's be clear: This motor-voter glitch has existed for decades, through Republican and Democratic administrations," Abbott said. "Gov. Wolf's administration is actually taking action to fix it."

It may just been that Wolf is being pushed to fix it because of President Trump's Presidential Advisory Commission on Electoral Integrity has its eye on Pennsylvania and it's giving them the willies.

Hans von Spakowsky [sic], a member of Trump's election commission, said the improper registrations represent "more evidence that we have a problem."

Trump, while campaigning last year, frequently said he could only lose if opponents cheated in places like Pennsylvania. After winning the presidency, Trump claimed without evidence that he lost the popular vote because of fraud.

Von Spakowsky [sic], speaking after a debate on immigration at the University of Pittsburgh late Wednesday, noted that the noncitizens who had registered to vote were only discovered because they alerted election officials. He wondered how many others didn't.

Here are some of the facts that suggest there's trouble:

Back in 2012, Philadelphia was the city that reported that 59 districts had not cast a single vote for Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney.  They all had Obama voting rates of 100%.  Color us skeptical.

Among the illegal foreign voter registrations, three quarters had registered Democrat.  So much for the claim that illegally cast ballots affect both parties equally.

Meanwhile, a blogger at Nate Silver's somewhat lefty analytical FiveThirtyEight blog wrote in 2016 that Pennsylvania was a "tipping point" state rather than swing state, meaning one whose trend lines could affect the general election outcome.  Democrats knew this, which is why they placed their convention in Philadelphia in 2016.

The report notes that Pennsylvania's Republican then-governor, Tom Corbett, in 2014 declined to appeal a court ruling striking down a voter ID law, which signaled open season for voter fraud. 

What's more, FiveThirtyEight includes a chart showing voter trends in Philadelphia as getting bluer and bluer, which is worth looking at in light of Pennsylvania's state officials claiming they had a handle on the matter and didn't need to check all districts, or that things have always been done this way.  Well, the Philadelphia trend lines show the results.

Now with the motor-voter system showing the perfect method for registering illegal voters and getting away with it, it's more than passing strange that Pennsylvania voting officials aren't showing too much alarm, and the alarm-givers are a timid lot.  Something is going on over there, and it's right to smell a rat.

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