ICYMI: Pennsylvania Editorial Boards Continue to Praise the Shapiro Administration’s Implementation of “Pragmatic” and “Inherently Secure” Automatic Voter Registration at PennDOT Centers
September 25, 2023
“This automatic registration eliminates some of the more time-consuming processes that can overwhelm county election offices late in the process.”
“The measure is also inherently secure. Everyone getting an ID at a government PennDOT facility already provides proof of residency, age and citizenship.”
Harrisburg, PA – After Governor Josh Shapiro announced last week that Pennsylvania will implement automatic voter registration (AVR) at Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) driver and photo license centers, editorial boards across the Commonwealth continue to praise the Shapiro Administration’s action to increase voter participation in Pennsylvania elections in a secure move that “increases democracy.”
Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt joined several local and national TV outlets to share more about the commonsense step that streamlines the voter registration process, saying: “As we’ve seen in nearly two dozen other states, this has been an effective way to encourage eligible voters who are not registered to vote. No applicant will see the voter registration screen if they are not old enough to register to vote, or if they are not a citizen of the United States. It’s rare to make a change this significant that improves voter access and election integrity at the same time,” added Schmidt.”
After implementing the change on National Voter Registration Day last week, The Scranton Times-Tribune, The Times Observer, The Observer-Reporter, and The Times Leader applauded the move, and several other editorial boards followed up with more praise over the weekend.
See what Pennsylvania editorial boards are saying about the Shapiro Administration’s commonsense step to ensure election security and streamline the voter registration process:
Gov. Josh Shapiro recently implemented a new measure to ensure more Pennsylvanians have access to elections: Residents getting driver’s licenses and ID cards will now automatically be opted into registering to vote through Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) computers. State residents already had the option, but an automatic prompt remains a simple and effective way to nudge voters in the direction of civic duty.
The measure is also inherently secure. Everyone getting an ID at a government PennDOT facility already provides proof of residency, age and citizenship.
American voters’ low turnout numbers are already a blemish on our democracy. Voter participation in special elections and primaries sometimes dips into the single-digits. Using every tool available to make voting accessible, easy and simple strengthens the social and political fabric of the country. […]
The inherently bipartisan measure also brings Pennsylvania into a cohort of 23 other states with an opt-out rather than opt-in DMV voter registration. And there’s more good news: Tuesday’s changes add five more languages into the voter registration instructional database, bringing the total to 31. […]
Shapiro’s push to ease registration for eligible voters is also a wise move. Many eligible voters do not participate for numerous reasons, including that they are not registered. For 30 years, Pennsylvanians have been permitted to register at PennDOT centers. Those visiting PennDOT centers can opt-out.
The state is quick to remind people that there are significant eligibility requirements to register to vote, including: Being a U.S. citizen for at least 30 days before the next election; be a resident of Pennsylvania and their election district for at least 30 days before the next election; be at least 18 years old on the date of the next election.
This automatic registration eliminates some of the more time-consuming processes that can overwhelm county election offices late in the process.
The more people vote, the more votes count.
It shouldn’t matter what party someone joins. It shouldn’t matter whether someone picks no party at all. Ideally, everyone would cast a ballot. Everyone would have their say.
That should be a point on which everyone agrees. But there are no points on which everyone agrees anymore.
[…] For anyone who has had to wait in line in a government office, it was a win to have the ability to kill two proverbial birds with one red-tape stone.
Shapiro’s action changes the question subtly. It goes from asking if you want to register to assuming you do — but still offering the ability to opt out if it isn’t something someone wants to do.
It is a good idea because it can address concerns that have existed on both sides of the political spectrum. […]
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