Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth touts voter ID law in Pittsburgh suburbs

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Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele brought her public relations campaign on the new voter identification law to Pittsburgh's suburbs today, as part of efforts to publicize the new requirements statewide before Election Day.

Ms. Aichele spoke to a class of 25 seniors at Chartiers Valley High School on the measure requiring voters to show voter ID at the polls, which is among the strictest such laws in the nation. She was tailed by CNN news crew, will speak later to radio show in Beaver County and tomorrow to college students at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Her appearances are part of a publicity effort that includes $5 million in television and radio spending, statewide mailers to voters and advertisements in minority and college newspapers. While opponents of the new law say it will water down the vote this presidential election year -- especially in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and other urban areas with elderly and poor voters -- she argued the state's efforts may have the opposite effect.

"We are doing the most aggressive public relations campaign this state has ever seen, to both educate the voters on the election in November and then to make sure they know about photo ID," she said. "The message is if you care about this country, vote. . . I'm expecting, and it would please me to no end, if we had the biggest voter turnout we've ever had in Pennsylvania."

Starting Nov. 6 voters will be required to show a photo ID such as a driver's licence (or other PennDOT ID), a valid U.S. passport, or other IDs issued by the military, government, nursing homes or Pennsylvania colleges marked with expiration dates.

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Timothy McNulty: tmcnulty@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1581


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