Secretary of Commonwealth Urging Young People to Vote

Sep 12, 2012

Highlighting the importance of voting and the state’s new voter ID law, Secretary of the Commonwealth Carole Aichele talked to a class of seniors at Chartiers Valley High School Wednesday. It’s part of an ongoing effort to reach out to young voters, which will continue through Election Day.

“When I was their age we had to wait until we were 21 to vote, so I’m going to talk to them about how important it is for them to participate in the process and how important the young people’s vote is for the future of this country,” said Aichele.

The secretary urged the students to register to vote as soon as they are able, only a few in the classroom at Chartiers were 18. Aichele also explained the voter ID law, and told the students it protects the integrity of the “one person, one vote” principle. The only questions surrounding the ID requirement came from a student concerned because his middle name is not on his voter registration, but is on his ID. Aichele told him he would be able to vote with no problem. The teacher then asked a question about how many people might be unable to vote because of the new requirement.

“Most people in Pennsylvania have acceptable form of photo ID, we know absolutely, positively, 91% have driver’s licenses or PennDOT issued [IDs], and we know beyond that many more have licenses where their names may not match perfectly, but they substantially conform and they can use their PennDOT issued ID to vote,” said Aichele.

Figures for how many people could be left out of the voting process vary, with the Corbett Administration citing the 91% figure, opponents maintain the number of people without valid ID is likely much higher. But, Aichele said

“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.

Those efforts include high school visits, pushes on Facebook and Twitter, and billboards, among other things. Aichele said she doesn’t expect the voter ID requirement to keep people away from the polls, and added she thinks the opposite will be true – and that Pennsylvania will see the largest voter turnout ever.