Our opinion: Making voter registration easier
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.