Pa. Lawmakers Go Topless to Promote Proper Mail-in Voting: 'Desperate Times!'

"Desperate times call for desperate measures!" local Allegheny County councilwoman Bethany Hallam tweeted

Pennsylvania Lawmakers
Photo: courtesy Bethany Hallam

A group of Pennsylvania lawmakers stripped down last weekend to remind voters not send in a "naked" ballot when voting by mail.

"Desperate times call for desperate measures!" tweeted Allegheny County councilwoman Bethany Hallam. "So your favorite elected officials got naked so that you remember to make sure that your mail-in ballot is NOT submitted without its secrecy envelope!"

The tongue-in-cheek post was a reminder to the state's voters that they need to remember to place their mail-in ballots inside an accompanying secrecy envelope before sending them back.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled last week that all ballots sent in without being secured inside the secrecy ballot would be thrown out. Some predictions estimate upwards of 100,000 ballots could be rejected because they weren't placed inside the correct envelope, according to the Associated Press.

Since the court's ruling, the AP reports a number of Democratic groups have launched ads aimed at reminding voters to seal their ballots inside the secrecy envelopes to ensure they're counted.

Hallam's viral ad notes: "The public doesn't need to see everything. Don't forget your secrecy envelope!"

The two photos Hallam, 30, tweeted show her alongside fellow Allegheny County council member Olivia “Liv” Bennett and Democratic state House candidate Emily Kinkead.

"No one wants a naked politician—or a naked ballot!" Kinkead wrote, sharing the ad on her account. "Don't forget your secrecy envelope when you mail in your ballot."

“There’s a lot misinformation going around about mail-in voting. It’s brand new. Most voters, this is the first time they’re ever voting by mail,” Hallam told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I reached out to my friends who are elected officials, as well, and I was like, ‘Hey, I have this wild idea. Let’s get naked to try to save our democracy.’ ”

Local, state and federal elections officials across the country are expecting an influx of mail-in ballots ahead of the 2020 election due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Health and safety precautions taken amid the spread of the virus have already led to historic increases in vote-by-mail numbers in some states.

President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has sought to undermine the Nov. 3 election between him and Democratic nominee Joe Biden by making repeated false statements about the validity of voting by mail.

Trump, 74, voted via mail himself in Florida's primary election earlier this year.

Election officials from around the country have told PEOPLE voters should remember that mail-in voting is as routine as casting a ballot in person, advising that voters should make sure to follow the directions on their ballot, use their best handwriting and remember to sign their names and fill out boxes where required.

“If you intend to vote by mail and you can do so, you should sign up now," Amber McReynolds, the CEO of the National Vote at Home Institute, told PEOPLE. "It’s really important that you make sure your address is up to date. Doing those things now and today will guarantee your vote gets counted."

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