Sunday, August 19, 2012

Under Registration in Center City Could Cause Obama Problems

I attended a meeting for volunteers that are helping registering voters today at the home of my neighbor. Steve Poses, the former proprietor of the Commissary and the Frog, bribed everyone to come by promising to bring his favorite carrot cakes. I dubbed it the carrot cake registration summit.
The cake was as good as I remembered
Poses, who has been working nonstop for the campaign, is an Organizing for American fellow. He has an active catering company based at the Franklin Institute, but his wife is running the day to day operations. Poses describes himself as "of counsel" to the business.

He said, "I did not want to wake up on the day after the election and realize that if he had worked a little harder Obama would have won."

One of the main reasons that Poses is supporting Obama is because he believes that everyone should have the right to healthcare. He told an emotional tale about the current plight of one of the elevator operators in his apartment building.

"When you live in a building, you become close to the elevator operators, or doorman for that matter," he said. "The elevator operator is in pain. He finally got insurance but it is not effective until September 1. The elevator operator had to cancel and reschedule his appointment until after September 1 so that he would be covered."

While Philadelphia will probably go 80% for Obama, it seems that under registration of potential voters could keep his vote tallies down. Poses wants to see a vigorous voter registration by an army of volunteers in order increase voter registration and to insure that Obama's margin in Center City and Philadelphia is enough to carry Pennsylvania's critical electoral votes. 

Parktown, 1500 Locust, the Dorchester, and Rittenhouse Claridge, in descending order, are the buildings with the least amount of registered voters. My source estimates that there are 1500 residents at Parktown, yet there is only 458 registered voters. At the 26 story Rittenhouse Claridge, there are only 159 registered voters out of a potential 650. Even allowing that there are foreign students living in the city, less than half of high rise residents are even registered to vote.

This election, Obama faces a double whammy in Philadelphia. The state's draconian voter id law, which was enacted by Republican Governor Corbett and the Republican legislature, could dramatically reduce the number of people actually able to vote on Election Day. Many center city residents do not have valid Penn Dot ids with updated addresses because they rarely need their licenses. They often walk not drive to work. Some students still have valid driver's licenses from the home state.

I helped out with voter registration today so that I could better understand the hurdles to voting. What I saw today was far worse than I imagined. The new law is so complicated that a recent graduate of Yale Law School stopped by because he was confused at what would be acceptable id for voting. Since he has a Connecticut driver's license, I had to check with someone to learn that his passport would suffice.

My voter id expert said, "The id has to establish who you are not where you are."

I also met today a frail 93 year old lady, who is very distressed that she does not have a proper id to vote. With only 49 days left to the election and so many voters to register, it is doubtful that anyone is going to be able to take her to Penn Dot to get a valid id.

Everyone is outraged that Russia's Putin has jailed the band Pussy Riot, who pushed the boundaries of decency to express dissent against his regime. Yet, no one seems to care that we have inhumanely stripped an elderly lady, who could be one of our bubbies, of her basic right of citizenship.

Pennsylvania is a must win state for Obama in this close election. This election could come down to a few thousand votes in the state. Organizing for American, Obama's get out the vote effort, is recruiting volunteers to register voters. If you want to help, the website for Obama 2012 Center City West Neighbors Campaign will be online in a few days.

It was great to see Steve Poses. Some of my best memories happened at his restaurant, The Frog. 

1 comment:

  1. Hey Poses, you didn't build that business and you can't show how Obama helped your elevator operator buddy. As it is, ObamaCare doesn't go into effect until 2014. And it's not free health care either. The only people who are living large in the last 4 years is Obama and his wife.