Editorial Roundup: Pennsylvania Editorial Boards Laud the Shapiro Administration’s Implementation of Automatic Voter Registration as “Good Governance”
September 22, 2023
‘Shapiro is right when he says our democracy is stronger when more voters participate; any effort to get more of them to the polls should be applauded.’
‘We applaud the Shapiro Administration for making it easier for more Pennsylvanians to exercise that right.’
Harrisburg, PA – This week, Governor Josh Shapiro implemented automatic voter registration (AVR) for eligible Commonwealth residents obtaining driver licenses and ID cards at Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) driver and photo license centers. Editorial boards across the Commonwealth are applauding this commonsense step and the Shapiro Administration’s commitment to ensuring Pennsylvania’s elections are free, fair, and secure.
The Governor’s action to help ensure election security and increase voter participation earned praise from the President of the United States, who applauded “this huge step forward to expand that right for Pennsylvanians,” and former President Barack Obama, who called the move “great news” and said “hopefully even more states will follow.”
See what Pennsylvanians are reading about the Shapiro Administration’s commonsense step to ensure election security and streamline the voter registration process:
A simple change enacted this week by Gov. Josh Shapiro not only will provide more Pennsylvanians with access to voting but resolve the supposed security issues that many Republican lawmakers have raised since the tempestuous 2020 presidential election.
Shapiro announced Tuesday that anyone obtaining or renewing a Pennsylvania driver’s license or personal identification card automatically will be registered to vote, unless they choose to opt out of the opportunity.
Now when residents renew licenses or IDs, they are given the option to register to vote. Under the change, the system will walk residents through the process rather than simply asking them if they want to register.
Residents obtaining or renewing licenses or IDs must provide proof of residency, age, citizenship and identity — the same qualifications that apply to voting. Therefore, a person who qualifies for a license or ID also qualifies to be a registered voter, eliminating any doubt about security.
Pennsylvania has just over 8.6 million registered voters, according to the state Department of State, more than 80% of the 10.7 million residents who are eligible to vote. There are 3.9 million Democrats, 3.4 million Republicans, 939,1002 independents and 345,851 third-party registrants.
Putting people on the rolls does not mean that they will choose to vote, but it eliminates one reason to stay home on Election Day. It’s good politics and good governance.
We’re feeling positive about several good things this week, so we are pleased to serve up all diamonds and no coal.
Diamonds to the administration of Gov. Josh Shapiro for making it easier for someone to register to vote when they are getting or renewing a driver’s license in Pennsylvania.
Under the new format, described in an Associated Press story, prompts on the computer screens in driver’s license centers will take the user to a template to register to vote. That leaves it up to them to choose not to register. Previously, prompts on the computer screen first asked the user whether they wanted to register to vote.
There are too many people in this country who are doing everything in their power to reduce the number of people who vote through disinformation, intimidation, and outright manipulation of laws and rules.
Millions of Americans have fought and died to protect this sacred right. We applaud the Shapiro Administration for making it easier for more Pennsylvanians to exercise that right. […]
When it comes to registering to vote, Pennsylvania joined the 21st century this week. On Tuesday, the governor’s office announced the state has implemented automatic voter registration for eligible Commonwealth residents obtaining driver licenses and ID cards at Pennsylvania Department of Transportation driver and photo license centers.
By implementing the system, Pennsylvania joins a group of 23 states with leaders from both parties – including Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Georgia, Virginia, and West Virginia – who have taken this step to promote election security and save taxpayers time and money. This allows commonwealth residents who are obtaining new or renewed driver licenses and ID cards and are eligible to vote will be automatically taken through the voter registration application process unless they opt out of doing so.
Previously, eligible voters were required to take additional steps to opt into the voter registration process.
“Pennsylvania is the birthplace of our democracy, and as governor, I’m committed to ensuring free and fair elections that allow every eligible voter to make their voice heard,” said Gov. Josh Shapiro.
“Automatic voter registration is a commonsense step to ensure election security and save Pennsylvanians time and tax dollars. Residents of our Commonwealth already provide proof of identity, residency, age, and citizenship at the DMV – all the information required to register to vote — so it makes good sense to streamline that process with voter registration.”
For local election officials, receiving automatic updates when residents obtain new identification – which residents often do when they change their name or address – will enhance efforts continuously underway to maintain the accuracy of Pennsylvania’s voter rolls.
We vote differently today than we did 20 years ago. Updating systems to register residents to be a part of the process makes sense. […]
[…] HIT: Since the 2020 election, many states have been taking steps to make voting harder, all of it predicated on the false notion that the way Americans vote is somehow rife with fraud. In striking contrast, Gov. Josh Shapiro unveiled a plan this week that will bring automatic voter registration to PennDOT centers when residents apply for a new license or ID card. There will be an opt-out option for those who want to sit on the sidelines, but Shapiro believes this will get some of the 1.6 million eligible Pennsylvanians involved in the democratic process. Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt says it will enhance election security, since “the voter is already in a state government facility with their identification documentation in hand, and they will have their picture taken and sign their name electronically. Having all of that happening at the same time means the verification process is extremely secure and makes the registration process more efficient.” Shapiro is right when he says our democracy is stronger when more voters participate; any effort to get more of them to the polls should be applauded. […]
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