Pa. Voters Confused by Billboard Ads

Tuesday, 23 Oct 2012 12:33 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Pennsylvania billboards are still promoting the state's new voter identification law, which is causing some confusion because of a court ruling earlier this month that voters won't have to show a state-issued photo ID to cast a ballot.
 
The billboards, which read, "This Election Day, if you have it, show it," have been put up in English and Spanish, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.  But voter rights advocates say the signs are confusing people, including many in the Hispanic community, where turnout at the polls could be affected by the ads.
 
Juan Ramos, a former Philadelphia city councilman and leader of the Delaware Valley Voter Registration Education Project, said the ads should simply say that voters don’t need an ID to vote.
 
Under the recent ruling by Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson, election officials are allowed to ask for a state-approved photo ID but voters can still cast a ballot without it.
 
Ron Ruman, a spokesman for the state, turned aside the criticism, saying the billboards won't be changed because voters will have to show photo IDs in future elections anyway.
 
"We wanted to make sure the word got out there," Ruman said. "There's a higher chance folks in urban areas might not have a driver's license."




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