Pa. Dems take ‘Don’t be Caught Naked’ campaign to the skies over Philly

It’s part of a tongue in cheek effort to remind Pennsylvanians voting by mail not to forget their secrecy envelopes

By: - October 12, 2022 7:07 am

(Capital-Star photo)

When it comes to casting your mail-in ballot this midterm campaign season, Pennsylvania Democrats would really, really appreciate it if you didn’t go naked.

No, that’s not a reminder to wear pants to your local county elections office (you’d probably feel the draft anyway). Rather, it’s part of a recently launched campaign to remind voters to use their secrecy envelopes when they vote by mail this fall.

The ‘secrecy’ envelope, by the way, is that blank envelope your ballot has to go into before you put it into the larger envelope that you drop in your mailbox, deposit at your county elections office, or another drop-off point.

And on Tuesday, the campaign took to the skies over West Philadelphia for an hour or so, with a banner reading “COVER UP, PA! NO NAKED BALLOTS! VISIT IWILLVOTE.COM/PA” making a lap up and down the Schuylkill River, delivering a well-intentioned, if a tad distracting, civics lesson to commuters white-knuckling it down the Schuylkill Expressway.

“Pennsylvania is home to some of the most important races in the country and it’s crucial every voter knows how to make their voice heard and ensures that their vote is counted,” Jack Doyle, a spokesperson for the state Democratic Party, said in an email. “Voting by mail is a convenient and reliable way to vote – just remember to cover up your ballot using the secrecy envelope.”

The banner was paid for by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the state party said in its statement.

Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Austin Davis casts his mail-in ballot in Pittsburgh on Friday, 10/7/22 (Screen Capture).
Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Austin Davis casts his mail-in ballot in Pittsburgh on Friday, 10/7/22 (Screen Capture).

Mail-in ballots that didn’t include the secrecy envelopes became something of a thing in the 2020 election, when then-Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar told county election officials to count them. As PennLive reports, the state Supreme Court eventually stepped in, and the ballots were not counted.

But with control of Congress and the Governor’s Office on the line, Democrats say they want to make sure people follow the right protocols as they cast their ballots, PennLive also reported.

With that in mind, voters casting mail-in ballots should:

  • Complete your ballot in black or blue ink.

  • Seal the ballot in the smaller secrecy envelope, then place it in the larger return envelope. If you do not place the ballot in the secrecy envelope, your vote won’t count.

  • Sign, date and complete the voters’ declaration on the outside of the larger return envelope.

  • Mail your ballot or return it in person to an official drop-off location. Check to find out where you can drop off your ballot.

Democrats have touted the campaign with events in Philadelphia, featuring U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Pittsburgh, featuring Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Austin Davis.

“Voting by mail is a convenient and reliable way for Pennsylvanians to fulfill their civic duty and make their voices heard,” Casey said in a statement provided to PennLive. “We need to ensure voters across the commonwealth are properly informed about the steps they need to take to make sure their vote is counted.”

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.