Ronnie Polaneczky: Voter-ID advocate: Lazy from the neck up

State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, of Butler County, said that the judge's decision "is skewed in favor of the lazy, who refuse to exercise the necessary work ethic to meet the common-sense requirements to obtain an acceptable photo ID."
State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, of Butler County, said that the judge's decision "is skewed in favor of the lazy, who refuse to exercise the necessary work ethic to meet the common-sense requirements to obtain an acceptable photo ID." (FILE PHOTO)
Posted: October 05, 2012

STATE REP. Daryl Metcalfe is mighty peeved that, come November, voters won't need a voter ID to cast a ballot.

On Tuesday, Commonwealth Judge Robert Simpson decided that voters could be asked to show the ID, but they couldn't be blocked from voting if they failed to produce one.

The judge's decision, Metcalfe said, "is skewed in favor of the lazy, who refuse to exercise the necessary work ethic to meet the common-sense requirements to obtain an acceptable photo ID."

Metcalfe, who ushered in the voter-ID law, should know about laziness, work ethic and common sense. Because the lazy bum lacked the work ethic and common sense required to ensure that the state was ready to actually implement the law.

Why else would the rules regarding its rollout have gone through so many permutations in the months preceding Simpson's decision this week?

The requirements to obtain a voter ID changed so often that tracking them sometimes made me feel like my brain was melting and running out my ears.

First, proof of residency was required. Then it wasn't.

A birth certificate was a must. Until it wasn't.

Being born in Pennsylvania mattered. And then it didn't.

PennDOT was calling all the shots. Until the Department of State joined the party.

Multiple trips to PennDOT were required. Until just one would do the trick.

In other words, the agencies charged with rolling out the voter-ID law didn't have a plan in place to do so with any integrity. If Metcalfe had done some homework to understand the hurdles that voter ID faced on implementation, he would have known that.

And if he had an ounce of common sense, he would've realized that voter ID wouldn't fly with people who take their voting rights deeply to heart.

It's laughable that Metcalfe thought that they wouldn't protest when it was revealed just how hard it would be to get a voter ID. And it's offensive that he'd dismiss as "lazy" those who had a hard time getting to PennDOT.

I'm thinking not just of the elderly, the disabled and those in the hinterlands who live nowhere near a PennDOT center. I'm also thinking of the working-class Pennsylvanians who juggle multiple jobs and don't get paid when they're not on the clock.

Metcalfe wouldn't understand this, since he works with a legislative body whose members get paid any time they leave home.

Representatives traveling to Harrisburg are entitled to per-diem pay that covers meals, lodging and travel expenses. I'm not saying that the most honorable among them don't deserve it - work is work. But given that they aren't required to submit detailed vouchers to back up the expenses, well, let's just say that that's an enviable work arrangement.

Perhaps he thinks that all Pennsylvanians enjoy similar perks.

To throw Metcalfe a bone, let's agree that some voters are, indeed, lazy. Some of them are probably arrogant and irritable, too. But when did a person's character determine his worthiness to exercise his rights?

If the lazy are to be denied the right to vote, then maybe we should deny other rights for similar reasons.

Maybe, after a person divorces, we should deny him the right to remarry. After all, if he lacked the commitment and maturity to slog it out with his first wife, why should he be allowed to marry a second one?

And if his child flunks a grade, maybe he should lose parental rights to that child. Hell, if a parent hasn't the ability to motivate his kid to succeed in school, perhaps he shouldn't parent at all.

These are absurd notions, obviously. But no more absurd than the notion that someone's right to vote should be suppressed if he's lazy.

Or the assumption that, if someone can't get to PennDOT, it's because he's lazy - not because a squirrelly state rep hellbent on passing a voter-ID law was too lazy to make sure that the law was ready for rollout.

Metcalfe, clearly, has no common sense.


Contact Ronnie Polaneczky at polaner@phillynews.com or 215-854-2217. Follow her on Twitter @RonniePhilly. Read her blog at philly.com/ronnieblog, or for recent columns go to philly.com/Ronnie.

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