ACLU Going After Pennsylvania Over Misleading Voter ID Ads
As we all know by now—or, at least, should—the Voter ID law is not in effect in Pennsylvania during the 2012 election. Commonwealth Court Judge Robert E. Simpson stayed the law through 2012, and it will be dealt with again in early 2013. Until then, though the Voter ID law still exists, it is irrelevant.
But don’t tell the Pennsylvania government that. They’re still putting out advertisements as if it’s presently relevant, with slight tweaks. And this may be confusing voters. So, once again, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania is getting involved. They filed a petition today asking Judge Simpson to “order the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to stop disseminating false information about the need for photo ID on Election Day and to make it to clear to the public that ID will not be required to vote in the November 6 election,” according to a news release. From the release (emphasis mine):
According to the petition, the Commonwealth has circulated misinformation about the voter ID law to voters. Last week, thousands of Pennsylvania seniors received a mailing from PACE/PACENET, a program administered by the Commonwealth’s Department of Aging, that included a Dept. of State card about the voter ID law. The card incorrectly states: “Voters are required to show photo ID on Election Day.”
In addition, petitioners’ counsel has received dozens of complaints from people that they have heard and seen radio and TV ads that still say voters need photo ID to vote. As recently as October 11, some PennDOT locations were still displaying outdated posters and information telling people they need ID to vote. Pennsylvania’s voting laws prohibit dissemination of false or misleading information to the electorate about voting.
Additionally, as was reported by the Inquirer recently, the state sent out fliers to 34,000 retired Philadelphia city workers which inaccurately notes identification is required this election.
Philadelphia Weekly senior writer Tara Murtha detailed in her column this week how the changes in advertising and those on the website VotesPA have been anything but drastic: “Changes to the state website Votes PA.com in the wake of the court ruling, for example, were so slight that it was mocked on The Rachel Maddow Show,” she writes. “The small-font text in the image was changed from “Voters are required to show an acceptable photo ID before casting their ballot” to “Voters will be asked, but not required, to show an acceptable photo ID on Election Day.””