‘Lazy’ comment outrages lawmakers
Don’t get mad at state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe’s recent comments, in which he called voters unable to get a voter ID “lazy,” agreed voter advocates. Instead, get even.
“Vote,” said state Rep. Cherelle Parker, who is the head of the city’s delegation in the state House. “There is one thing politicians and elected officials pay attention to — and that’s numbers.”
She urged all voters to get go to the polls on Nov. 6 and remember which party approved the voter ID law.
“That’s how you deal with his comments,” Parker said.
Metcalfe, a sponsor of the state’s controversial voter ID law, made his comments Wednesday on a radio show in Pittsburgh.
“I don’t believe any legitimate voter that actually wants to exercise that right and takes on the according responsibility that goes with that right to secure their photo ID will be disenfranchised,” Metcalfe told KDKA Radio, moving on to echo controversial comments made by presidential candidate Mitt Romney. “As Romney said, 47 percent of the people that are living off the public dole, living off their neighbors’ hard work, and we have a lot of people out there that are too lazy to get up and get out there and get the ID they need. If individuals are too lazy, the state can’t fix that.”
A Commonwealth Court judge is now trying to determine, at the state Supreme Court’s order, if the law will disenfranchise voters. State officials have suggested that it could disenfranchise as many as 186,830 Philadelphians who lacked the identification needed to cast a ballot. Across the state, that number is estimated at 758,000 registered voters.
Voters will be disenfranchised despite the best efforts of their advocates, said John Jordan, director of civic engagement with the state chapter of the NAACP.
“This law is written specifically to disenfranchise the large voting groups that voted in 2008,” he said. “Women, students and seniors.”
Jordan then echoed Parker.
“Mr. Metcalfe, we’re going to do everything we possibly can with the registered voters in your area to make sure that when you’re up for re-election, we get all of those lazy people out to make sure you’re not re-elected,” he said.
Everyone the Tribune spoke to said that people are working diligently to register, but are encountering a variety of hurdles including a lack of necessary documents, a lack of time — obtaining an ID can take as little as few hours, or as long as a few weeks — and a lack of training for PennDOT employees, who must issue the IDs.
Calling the law “poorly thought out” state Rep. Ron Waters, head of the state’s Black Legislative Caucus, blasted back at Metcalfe, saying that during House debate on the bill, Metcalfe refused to answer questions about the bill.
“He shut down on the House floor and refused to talk to people,” Waters said. “What do we call a person who doesn’t respect democracy, when it comes to standing up behind what he did? I think that’s even worse.”
Metcalfe, who represents Butler County, which borders Ohio at the state’s western edge, has a history of making politically incendiary remarks.
Last year he called President Barack Obama “treasonous” after he issued an executive order calling for a review of all deportation cases. He also drew media fire for hosting a fundraiser featuring shooting targets emblazoned with Obama’s face.
One veteran legislator simply urged voters to consider the source.
“Metcalfe’s statements speak for themselves,” said state Rep. W. Curtis Thomas. “It’s unfortunate that there are 117 others that stand with him. He has said these kinds of things before.”