Undeterred by Court Decision, Pennsylvania Government Continues Ad Campaign Claiming Photo ID Needed
Apparently unconcerned about confusing voters and poll workers, Pennsylvania’s Republican-led Department of State is sponsoring ads and announcements that appear to contradict the October 2 court ruling by Judge Robert Simpson that the law requiring photo IDs may not be applied in the upcoming November elections. Under the ruling, poll workers may ask for an ID, but voters will be allowed to cast a ballot whether they have one or not.
Critics of the voter ID requirement argue that the state’s $5 million advertising campaign implies that photo ID will be required, which could discourage some poor, disabled or elderly voters who lack such ID to mistakenly believe that they should not even try to vote. They point to a bus ad featuring a large photo ID with “SHOW IT” in big block lettering; the ad also says photo ID is not mandatory, but in much smaller type. Further, it took the state more than two weeks to remove billboard ads stating the IDs were mandatory, a delay the state blames on its contractor.
Taking these criticisms a step further, civil rights group the Advancement Project filed a petition Friday with Judge Simpson asking him to order Pennsylvania officials to stop the advertising about the photo ID requirement.
Ron Ruman, a spokesman for Republican Secretary of State Carol Aichele, defended the ads as being consistent to the court ruling, which allowed education and outreach on the transition to photo ID to continue. “That’s the direction we took from his ruling,” he said.
To Learn More:
Pa. Ads Create Confusion and Fear on Voter ID, Voting Rights Ddvocates Say (by Bill Turque, Washington Post)
Pennsylvania Government Refuses to Turn Over Photo ID Documents to Justice Dept. (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)
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