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Photo ID voting law ads yanked in Pennsylvania

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Staff and Wire Reports
Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Pennsylvania officials are pulling radio and television advertisements aimed at promoting the state's photo ID voting law.

The Department of State is working on a revamped campaign in light of a Commonwealth Court decision, department spokesman Ron Ruman said Wednesday.

Judge Robert Simpson on Tuesday upheld the essence of the law, which requires voters to present photo identification at their polling places. But people without ID will be able to vote in the Nov. 6 general election, according to his decision. It says the ID requirement should go into full effect for following election cycles.

The state hopes broadcast stations “have already or will very shortly” remove advertisements to avoid mixed messages, Ruman said.

Billboards also will be removed, though it was not clear whether the state's ad agency will replace them.

State officials budgeted $5 million to design and implement the public awareness campaign, relying on federal money. They chose Harrisburg-based Bravo Group and Red House Communications in the South Side this year to spearhead outreach and advertising.

The Department of State does not know how much recasting the broadcast spots will cost, Ruman said. A production agency would determine that, he said, “and we are still working on what the revamped spots will be.”

“We have a little money left to cover some additional costs,” Ruman wrote in an email. He said yanking ads now may somewhat reduce overall expenses, “which could help cover additional production costs.”

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