Need to make sure you have the ID needed to vote? PennDOT says they'll help.
In the case of one elderly Pennsylvania man, having a son with more than 568,000 Twitter followers helped get their attention.
Yesterday morning, Jim Cramer, host of the Mad Money investment show on CNBC, posted a complaint that his father would be unable to vote because of the state voter ID law. His father is 90, he said in a later post, and had traveled twice by bus to PennDOT offices.
I have a problem. My dad, a vet, won't be allowed to vote in Pa. because he does not drive, he is elderly, and can't prove his citizenship.
In the early afternoon, a PennDOT employee emailed agency spokeswoman Jan McKnight with the tweet, asking if the department could help. McKnight, who has a background in TV promotions, searched online for Cramer's publicist and sent off an email. The publicist in turn reached out to the family, and McKnight was soon on the phone with Cramer's sister.
"I asked what happened and what do you need," she said. "It took 10 minutes to determine that he was good to go."
Cue a follow-up tweet:
PennDot read my Tweet and came directly to the rescue of Pop and did so in a terrific way so he can vote.. Thank you Penndot!
Soon followed by: "I never meant the Pa law to be a political issue. My dad has never missed an election. He will vote. But i don't know who for!!!"
And then: "When my dad and i talked about this we had no idea how to turn and he LOVES the right to vote. I praise Twitter for making things right..."
That prompted replies asking about the situation of Pennsylvania voters without, as a reporter for the political news site Talking Points Memo put it, "celebrity sons." The reporter, Ryan J. Reilly, concluded in a story last night:
"[H]ow did it happen so fast? Needless to say, the reach of the younger Cramer, who has more than a half million Twitter followers and a net worth reportedly in the tens of millions of dollars, had a lot to do with it."
McKnight said that once the agency learned Cramer's dad might not have an ID, it responded the same way it had for other voters. When reporters have pointed out people with ID concerns,the agency reaches out to them, she said. (When I previously asked McKnight about a person who said they had acquired ID but had a complaint about the process, she offered to speak with them.)
"We didn't really go out of our way," she said of Cramer. "It was the same process we would have followed when somebody, anybody, was brought to our attention in the past."
"If they don't get what they go in there for, please let us know," she said. "When it comes to issuing an ID for voting purposes, that's a priority for us."