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At Least Five Pennsylvania Counties Still Falsely Tell Voters They Need ID

Elections officials may not fully understand the requirement.

(Photo: Ben Sutherland)

Last week, a Pennsylvania court mostly suspended that state’s voter ID law for the upcoming election. Under the court’s order, voters will still be asked for ID at the polls, but they will still be able to cast a regular ballot — not a provisional ballot — if they are unable to show it.

Yet, despite this court order, at least five Pennsylvania county websites still falsely inform voters that they need to show ID in order to cast a regular ballot:

  • Butler County: Butler County’s website still tells voters that “[s]tarting with the November 2012 general election, Pennsylvania requires voters to show an acceptable photo identification to vote at the polls.”
  • Bucks County: Bucks County’s website falsely claims that “[i]f you do not have a photo ID or are indigent and unable to obtain one without payment of a fee, you may cast a provisional ballot, and will have six days to provide your photo ID and/or an affirmation to your county elections office to have your ballot count.”
  • Perry County: Perry County echoes Bucks County’s false statement that voters without IDs will only be able to cast provisional ballots.
  • Luzerne County: Luzerne County’s website is similarly incorrect, also falsely claiming that “ALL voters will be required to show a photo ID before voting at a polling place.”
  • Delaware County: Delaware County’s website falsely claims that “Pennsylvania law now requires voters to show approved photo ID to vote at the polls.”

In addition to these five county websites, at least one state university — West Chester University — falsely informs its students that they “MUST present one of the following forms of PHOTO ID when [they] go to their poll place to vote in the General Election this November 6, 2012.”

To be fair, it is likely that these websites remain live simply because county or university officials have not yet updated their sites after the court’s decision last week. Nevertheless, they are a possible sign that elections officials may not fully understand that the requirement that voters present ID at the polls before they can cast a regular ballot is not in effect in November. Last month, elections officials in New Hampshire falsely told some primary voters that ID was required, even though the law did not yet require ID to be shown. The websites listed above indicate a similar error is taking place in Pennsylvania, potentially discouraging many voters from casting a ballot they are lawfully entitled to cast.

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