Target: Pennsylvania Secretary of State, Carol Aichele
Goal: Stop spreading unclear and contradictory information about Pennsylvania’s current voter ID law
Pennsylvania courts have temporarily halted the law that requires voters to show identification before being allowed to vote with regular ballots, but state officials have failed to get that message out to the state’s citizens. Some ads being shown in the state still suggest that voters will be required to have state-issued ID, while others inform voters that they might be asked for ID, without explicitly stating whether or not they will be required to show ID. State officials must make all Pennsylvania citizens aware of their right to vote without any identification.
After the court ruling, TV ads telling voters they had to show ID continued to air for several days, and it took several counties over a week to edit their websites to reflect the new law. When state officials finally did put out new TV ads, the only adjustment they made was to remove the portion that told voters they had to show ID, but they did not clearly state that ID is no longer required. Billboards continue to imply that ID will be necessary on election day. Many of these billboards are in Spanish, making clear the targets of the Republicans’ voter suppression campaign.
In addition to the ads, several thousand retired city workers were recently sent fliers telling them they would need ID to vote, and over a million customers of a utilities company were sent newsletters that included information about the ID requirement. Finally, the State Department sent out instructions to polling place officials, telling them that poll workers must ask all voters for ID, but that voters are not required to present any ID. As with the ads being shown, this might end up confusing poll workers and lead to citizens being denied the right to vote.
The recent court ruling that temporarily suspended the voter ID requirement in Pennsylvania seemed to be a victory for those trying to stop voter suppression, but the ruling is not being advertised clearly to the state’s voters. The presidential race is very close in Pennsylvania, and these deceptive ads could encourage enough people to avoid the polls to unfairly result in a Republican victory. Make sure voters are not disenfranchised in this year’s general election by urging Pennsylvania officials to clarify the applicable voter ID laws.
Dear Secretary Aichele,
The current law states that voters will not need ID to vote in the upcoming election, but citizens have been getting misleading information on the subject. Ads, fliers, and emails are being sent to voters and polling officials that fail to state explicitly that ID will not be required to vote until after the general election.
This confusing information might result in citizens avoiding the polls altogether, and not getting an opportunity to cast their votes. It is the job of state officials to ensure that citizens are given accurate information on their voting rights and that the election is decided fairly.
I am asking that you make an effort to inform all registered voters that although poll workers might ask if they have identification, they must be given regular ballots and allowed to vote whether they have ID or not.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Vox Efx via Flickr.