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Pennsylvania implements automatic voter registration

Eligible voters obtaining a new driver’s license or identification card in Pennsylvania will now be automatically registered to vote, Commonwealth officials said.

Gov. Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, announced the change Tuesday, calling it good for democracy.

“Automatic voter registration is a common-sense measure to ensure election security and save Pennsylvanians time and taxpayer dollars,” Shapiro said in a statement. “Residents of our Commonwealth already provide proof of identity, residency, age and citizenship to the DMV – all information required to register to vote – so it makes sense to streamline this process with the voter registration,” he added.

Part of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s campaign plan included implementing automatic voter registration.File Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania becomes the 24th state to implement automatic voter registration, according to a tally by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Automatic voter registration simplifies voter registration processes and requires voters to deregister if they wish to remain off the rolls. Previously, Pennsylvania voters had the option of registering while obtaining a driver’s license, a process that involved 19 screens of questions. Now, they will automatically be asked 11 questions during the identification process, according to Manuel Bonder, the governor’s spokesperson.

The measure also helps election officials keep their voter rolls in order, by allowing voters to update their registrations in the same process.

Americans have been able to register to vote through a state motor vehicle agency since a federal law required it in 1993; since then, nearly half of all states and the District of Columbia have made the process automatic.

As a candidate, Shapiro campaigned as an advocate for democracy, and his pro-democracy policy plan included implementing automatic voter registration.


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