Pennsylvania Voter-ID Ads Cause Confusion

Just a few weeks before Election Day, civil rights advocates work to correct misinformation.

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Pennsylvania became a battleground for voting rights this year. Despite a recent victory striking down the need for photo ID to vote, the fight's not over. Now voting-rights advocates must work quickly in the next three weeks before Election Day to tell the state's residents that they will not be turned away at the polls if they don't have identification. The Advancement Project, a civil rights organization, filed a petition on Friday asking Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson to order state officials to cease the television, radio and billboard ads about the photo-ID requirement. From the Washington Post:

That critical detail in Simpson's opinion -- that photo ID is not required in this election -- has been lost in much of the $5 million advertising campaign by the Pennsylvania Department of State, voters rights advocates charge. On buses, an ad displays a photo ID with "SHOW IT" in big block lettering. In smaller type, it says photo ID is not mandatory. Moreover, state officials acknowledge that it was not until Tuesday, a full two weeks after the court opinion, that the last of the pre-decision billboards announcing photo ID as a requirement came down.

Confusion was compounded when PECO, the Philadelphia power company, sent a newsletter to 840,000 customers in its October billing with an announcement that voters must have a valid photo ID. A company spokesman said that the bills started going out a couple of days before the court decision and that an updated announcement is on its Web site. He said the information will be corrected in the November billing, which will be mailed Oct. 28.

Read more at the Washington Post.

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