Share This Page

Voter ID ad misleading in 'emphasis and tone,' Mt. Lebanon Democrat says

| Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, 3:09 p.m.

HARRSBURG — A Mt. Lebanon Democrat on Wednesday urged the Corbett administration to pull a television ad on the voter ID law, claiming it misleads people by erroneously suggesting they will be required to show photo identification in the November election.

Sen. Matt Smith, with several other Democratic senators, acknowledged the ad contains a statement that photo ID is not required on Nov. 5. But Smith objects to the ad's “emphasis and tone.”

The ad shows several people saying, “Show it.”

“These advertisements will lead to voter confusion and it is imperative that the spots cease immediately,” Smith said. He said it's wrong to use $1 million in state money for the ad.

But Ron Ruman, spokesman for the Department of State, which oversees elections, said the agency followed a judge's instruction. The administration does not plan to suspend its airing.

A Commonwealth Court ruling in August continued an injunction against a requirement to show identification in the election, until Judge Bernard McGinley rules on the overall law.

“The status of the voter ID law is that voters next month will be asked — but not required — to show an ID, which is exactly what the ads say,” Ruman said. The department recognizes an obligation to educate voters about the law, he said.

“This is the law and we want voters who may not have an ID to understand clearly how they can get one for free, so if this law is eventually upheld, as we believe it will be, all voters will have an ID,” he said.

Before the injunction, the law required voters to show a driver's license or non-driver's card from PennDOT, or a passport, university, military, local government or nursing home ID. The law required PennDOT to issue free non-driver IDs to people without licenses. The Department of State began issuing IDs last year.

Supporters say the law is intended to protect the integrity of the state's voting process. Critics say there's no evidence of in-person voter fraud in polling places.

There have been criminal arrests for voter registration fraud.

Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media's state Capitol writer. Reach him at 717-787-1405 or bbumsted@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.