Aichele: Pa. will “retool” advertising about voter ID

Commonwealth Secretary Carole Aichele said Thursday the state has pulled advertising about Pennsylvania’s voter ID law in light of a judge’s ruling earlier this week that voters will not be required to show identification for the Nov. 6 election.

Aichele said the state will tweak the ads and re-launch the campaign Monday since the law could still take effect at some point, but she would not say what the message would be.

“We are going to try to make both messages clear. We have people who will be developing a message that should be able to clarify, as clearly as possible for our citizens, that the voter ID law is still part of Pennsylvania code, but will not be in effect Nov. 6,” she said at a press conference Thursday at Temple University.

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson ordered the state to continue the “soft rollout” that was in effect during the primary, meaning voters will be asked for ID, but do not need it to vote. The American Civil Liberties Union expressed concern after the ruling that the current ads could confuse or mislead voters.

“Most of the ads in fact say you need ID on Election Day. That would be false to run at this time and we’re hopeful the commonwealth will either pull those ads or make changes,” attorney David Gersch said Tuesday.

The state contracted with two advertising agencies to create the ads. Aichele said she is confident the “retooled” message will be clear to voters. She also said the state has not decided whether it would appeal Simpson’s ruling to the state Supreme Court, which rejected Simpson’s initial ruling that upheld the law.

Both sides are scheduled to have a conference with Simpson in December to discuss a possible permanent injunction against the law.

Aichele was at Temple to commend the university for being the first in the commonwealth to make its IDs comply with the new voting requirements.