Auditor General Eugene DePasquale thinks the Department of State is out of line to spend $1 million this year on its Voter ID ads.
The campaign instructs voters to show photo identification at the polls in November, despite a Commonwealth Court injunction on the requirement. Voters are not required to present photo ID.
“Wasting $1 million to promote a law that is not even in effect is like putting $1 million on my 2-4 Steelers to win this year’s Super Bowl,” said DePasquale, a Pittsburgh native. “Instead of spending $1 million on a voter education problem that doesn’t exist, we should invest in making it easier for eligible voters to cast their ballot.”
State Senate Democrats have also taken issue with the campaign, and wrote a letter to Governor Corbett last week urging him to take action. The Senators argue that the advertisements are intentionally confusing and costly.
“A more prudent use of precious taxpayer funds would have been to inform voters of how they can obtain an ID, without mentioning any identification requirements,” said State Senator Matt Smith (D-Allegheny). “With immediate fiscal needs like Pennsylvania’s transportation crisis, I’m extremely disappointed and troubled by the Department of State’s actions.”
The Corbett administration has defended the campaign, claiming the advertisements are a precautionary measure in case the law goes through in time.
“We think this is important information that voters should have,” State Dep’t spokesman Ron Ruman told the Patriot News, “in the event the law should be upheld.”
Although it may be upheld in the future, Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley explicitly barred enforcement of the law in this election cycle. McGinley did say poll officials can distribute written material on the law.