Adams voters misinformed on ID rule
October 29, 2012
ADAMS TWP — The township in its monthly newsletter stated that residents must show photo IDs at the polls on Nov. 6. Those newsletters, however, were printed before the Oct. 2 injunction by a state judge that nullified parts of the new voter ID law for this election. Under the judge’s ruling, residents do not have to show a valid photo ID to vote next month, but they will for the election next year. With the election just 10 days away, there’s not much township officials can do to rectify the erroneous statement. Resident Jerry Fernandez, a self-described senior citizen with limited mobility, said he got the newsletter last week and immediately contacted the state’s branch of the American Civil Liberties Union. He’s afraid the inaccurate information might deter voters from heading to the polls on Nov. 6, and he’s called on township officials to send out another mailer explaining the mistake or to post notices in polling places. “As I read this thing, it’s either voter suppression, incompetence or it was mailed after the injunction,” Fernandez said. “Those are the only three possibilities. Either way it’s horrible and needs to be addressed.” Township Supervisor Linda Lees said Thursday she regrets the error but that the election is too close to send out another mailer. “I believe we’ve received four or five e-mails from concerned citizens, and one of the supervisors said he would send out an e-mail and tell them just what happened. Beyond that, there’s not much we can do,” she said. Lees said the township’s newsletters were printed right before the judge issued the injunction. The mailers didn’t get delivered until “four or five days” after that. “It was just too late, unfortunately,” she said. Shari Brewer, director of the Butler County election bureau, said she talked to Adams officials last week about the mix-up, and that her office has fielded several calls from township residents. Brewer said she was under the impression that officials would send out some sort of retraction, although Lees said Thursday that the township had no such plans. Brewer said the election bureau hasn’t gotten many calls from residents about the voter ID law. “Other than the residents from Adams Township, we haven’t had a whole lot of calls,” Brewer said. “We just finished up poll worker training, so now they know what they need to do as far as treating people at the polls.” Brewer also said residents shouldn’t be put off by what the bureau calls a “soft roll-out” where poll workers will ask voters for a photo ID on Nov. 6 but won’t bar them from voting if none is presented. The director said the soft roll-out is only a preparatory measure so poll workers can get used to the new law, which takes effect next year.