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Politics & Government

Sen. Smith Opposes Voter ID Ads

Pennsylvania Sen. Matt Smith (D-Allegheny) is urging the commonwealth’s State Department to stop airing its voter ID advertisements.

The ads, which began running earlier this week, say voters will be asked, but not required, to show a photo ID at the polls, but Smith said the commercials are almost identical to the original ads that say photo ID is a requirement.

Smith calls the ads “confusing” and “misleading” because they give the impression that identification will be mandatory for the November municipal elections.

Smith said the “Show It” ads aren’t as educational as they should be.

“We can use the million dollars or so that they’re spending on these ads in a much better way,” he said. “Encouraging people to vote, telling people how they’ll have the ability to attain a photo ID, and not putting these ads out which clearly, I think, will have the effect of, at the minimum, confusing people and that shouldn’t be the role of the department of state.”

But Press Secretary Ron Ruman disagrees.

He said the commercials meet all the educational standards.

“The law is that voters will be asked, but not required to show a photo ID,” he said. “That’s in there and the education aspect is clearly in the spots when voters are advised that they can get a free ID at any PennDOT driver’s license center even if they were unable to get one in the past.”

The Commonwealth Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the state’s voter ID law by the end of the year, but both sides say they’re going to appeal to the Supreme Court.