The general election is months away, but one study shows that Pennsylvania is among nine states ill-equipped to respond to voter deception and intimidation campaigns.
The nonpartisan advocacy group Common Cause issued the report detailing incidents in which callers told voters the wrong dates and times of Election Day, and attempted to intimidate others from casting ballots.
Robocalls, fliers, and emails have been the means of misinformation campaigns in Pennsylvania. Residents have been warned not to vote if they have parking tickets, for instance, and have been told there are special voting hours for Latinos.
Common Cause attorney Stephen Spaulding says Pennsylvania’s new requirement that voters show photo identification at the polls could make efforts to misinform voters more effective.
“This is a prime opportunity in Pennsylvania, given the changing laws, where it’s easy for voters to be confused about what they need, what the qualifications are for voting,” Spaulding said.
The report finds many states have similar problems, such as laws too ambiguous about what constitutes an act of voter deception.
Common Cause recommends the state create a plan to disseminate correct information across Pennsylvania after an instance of misinformation is reported.