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Voter ID Costs To PA Less Than You Think

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Gregg_Cherrie--NEW Cherri Gregg
Cherri Gregg is the community affairs reporter for KYW Newsr...
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By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Pennsylvania’s roll in the voter ID law has a multi-million dollar price tag, but most of the money will not come from state coffers.

There’s TV and radio ads.  There’s robo-calls and mass mailings.

It sounds like all of this effort would mean a big burden on Pennsylvania tax payers, but spokesman Ron Ruman says the cost to the Commonwealth is a minimum.

“We have $5-million that is allocated for this education effort,” he says.  “That’s federal money from the Help America Vote Act given to states in big election years for voter education that cannot be used for any other purpose.”

Of that money, about $1.3 million is going to TV ads- the biggest expenditure, $200,000 for print ads, $80,00 for robo-calls, $112,000 for transit ads, $500,000 for online advertising and then there are other expenses as well.  In addition, Ruman says Department of State representatives has attended dozens and dozens of community meetings across the state handing out literature and answering questions from neighborhood leaders.

“We have allocated about $160,000 for our community outreach program, which helps to cover the costs of attending these meetings,” says Ruman.  “We also have about $1.5 million being spent on mailing post cards to every home in Pennsylvania that has at least one voter.”

Ruman says the only state borne cost is making the IDs, which are given free to registered voters who request them for voting purposes.  He says lawmakers budgeted about $1-million for the free IDs when they passed the law.

“They typically cost about $13.50,” says Ruman. “So at this point, since we issued just under 10,000, about $130,000 of that million dollar budget so far, so we still have a pretty big chunk of money of what was allocated to PennDOT for these free IDs.”

Ruman says the Department of State absorbed the administrative cost of voter ID fliers and handouts.  He says PennDOT used in-house staff to create the DOS ID, so no additional cost was required for that endeavor.

As for how much the Commonwealth has spent of the total $6 million for the roll-out this far, Ruman says its hard to say because the efforts are ongoing right up to the election.

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