On Tuesday, Pennsylvania courts put the state's controversial voter ID law on hold until after the election, ensuring that voters this year will not have to show a photo ID at the polls. Two days later, however, the official website and hotline run by the state were still giving voters outdated and inaccurate information.
Though the ruling is important, said MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Thursday, it means a lot less for this year's election if most Pennsylvania voters believe that the law remains in effect. Official state media were declining to clarify the situation.
In the wake of the ruling Tuesday, the Pennsylvania State Department's VotesPA tweaked the small print on their website—small print which runs underneath a still-large "SHOW IT" banner with a picture of a photo ID*.
Since the website revision was minor and potentially still confusing, Maddow staff called VotesPA's toll-free number for more information. As it turns out, two days after the ruling, the official hotline was still telling callers that the "new information about Pennsylvania's voter ID law" was that "all Pennsylvania voters will be required to show a photo ID before voting."
A state official told a Rachel Maddow Show producer that Pennsylvania was trying "to make sure that nothing's out there that's sending mixed messages to the voters." He also encouraged any confused voters to visit the website or call the hotline—the very same website and hotline with wrong information. After the producer pointed out the hotline recording was "factually incorrect," the state removed the message.
The widespread confusion isn't just confined to Pennsylvania. In Idaho, the state government is distributing voter information pamphlets that read "Bring your ID and vote!" on the cover, despite the fact that Idaho law does not require you to have an ID in order to vote.
"Your state using your tax dollars to misinform you about what your voting rights are in your state," said Maddow.
*This sentence has been corrected from an earlier version.