Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law may disenfranchise as many as 758,939 voters, but that is not stopping Gov. Tom Corbett (R-PA) from spending $249,660 to promote it. Gov. Corbett’s administration signed a contract with Chris Bravacos, a Romney fundraiser, to direct the media campaign.
The ad campaign attempts to portray the voter ID law as protecting voters and continuing the legacy of the Voting Rights Act. One ad, which contains a series of black and white photos of people voting, opens with: “Your right to vote: it’s one thing you never want to miss out on.”
But the ID law may be directly responsible for more than 750,000 eligible voters missing out on their right to vote this November. Though Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele had assured lawmakers that 99 percent of voters possessed an acceptable ID, data released by Pennsylvania last week shows that 9 percent of voters statewide, and 18 percent of Philadelphia voters, lack an acceptable ID. Gov. Corbett reacted to the new data by rejecting a request to delay implementation of the ID requirement.
The ACLU and NAACP have filed a lawsuit against Pennsylvania, alleging that the voter ID law violates the state constitution and will disenfranchise thousands, “disproportionately affect[ing] older citizens, people with disabilities, racial minorities, and lower-income people.” The lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, Viviette Applewhite, is 93 years old and has voted since 1960, but will be barred from voting in the upcoming election because she does not have an acceptable ID and is unable to obtain a birth certificate from the state, which is required in order to get an ID.