Facebook, Twitter Will Be Used To Inform Voters About Pennsylvania's Voter ID Law

Aug 14, 2012

Pennsylvania’s Department of State is calling attention to its social media efforts to spread the word about the new voter ID law. The agency is using Facebook and Twitter to post information and field questions regarding the law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls this November.

Critics say it will take more than tweets and Facebook posts to reach the people least likely to have the proper photo identification that will be required to vote under the controversial new law.

Democratic state Senator Daylin Leach, of Montgomery County, said the voters least likely to have photo ID are not any more likely to be online. “Poor people, elderly people—they’re the people least likely to be involved in social media and you know, to even have computers,” Leach said.

It is a point not lost on the Department of State’s Nick Winkler, who said the state is aiming to be ubiquitous with its voter outreach campaign, going well beyond social media, broadcast ads, and bus billboards.

“We’re also meeting at the grassroots level, and we’ve already met with different representatives and their organizations, we’ve met with senior centers, we meet with church groups, civic organizations.  You know, we’re hitting everybody and anybody, no matter what your demographic is,” Winkler said.

However, Winkler said he can see the validity behind the critics’ arguments. “You’re right, not everybody’s online, not everyone’s plugged in, but we we’ll reach you either with a postcard to your house, or we’ll maybe see you at one of the civic events that we’re talking to,” Winkler said.

The Facebook page has been up and running since mid-July, the Twitter account shows activity going back to late July. The announcement that both are up and running comes the week a Commonwealth Court judge is expected to rule on a requet to put the voter ID on hold until a court to listen to arguments on the law’s constitutionality.

The law requires voters to show approved photo identification at the polls starting this November.