“Racist” voter ID laws were struck down by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Oct. 2, but that hasn’t stopped the state’s politicians from trying to discourage Latino voters from rightfully casting their ballots on Nov. 6.
Just two weeks shy of the presidential election, a series of state-sponsored billboards reading “Si Quieres Votar, Muéstrala” (If You Want to Vote, Show It) were erected in predominantly Latino neighborhoods. The wording of the signs is highly misleading given that implementation of the law requiring photo IDs at the polls was postponed until 2013.
Sign this petition to tell Pennsylvania state officials and Clear Channel to stop intimidating Latino voters.
Former city councilman Juan Ramos is furious, say local news sources. Ramos now works for the Delaware Valley Voter Registration Education Project, a nonprofit that focuses on increasing voter registration in Philadelphia’s Latino communities. “This is a very slick attempt by the state government to carry out voter suppression,” he said.
But the Pennsylvania Department of State has no plans to remove the deceptive billboards. Officials say the campaign is the result of a court order to educate all voters that poll workers will ask for photo identification, although it is not yet a legal requirement.
Coincidence? You Decide
The state was slow to remove voter ID requirements from its websites: The Bucks County, Luzerne County and Borough of West Chester official websites stated until Oct. 9 that photo IDs were necessary to vote. Pontealdia.com points out that Luzerne County coincidentally has one of the fastest growing Latino populations in the nation, increasing 85 percent from 14,500 in 2000 to 26,782 in 2010. Read more data about the Latino demographic.
This intimidating billboard tactic, also has been used in Ohio, as reported by Mother Jones. Watch this video below, which shows a billboard on voter fraud in a predominantly Black community in Cincinnati.
Pennsylvania historically leans Democratic, but the state has become more of a battleground for Republicans in the 2012 election. Currently, President Obama holds an 11-point lead over Governor Romney. Other swing states include Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.
For more on voter ID laws and the election, read: