Pennsylvania Governor Adopts Automatic Voter Registration


Pennsylvania is adopting an automatic voter registration system for anyone who obtains a driver’s license or other state identification card, state Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) announced on Tuesday.

Pennsylvanians can still choose not to register when they are obtaining ― or renewing ― their IDs, but they will have to proactively opt out of the process to do so.

Shapiro had the power to make the change without passing a new law.

“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,” Shapiro said in a statement. “Automatic voter registration is a commonsense step to ensure election security and save Pennsylvanians time and tax dollars.”

Pennsylvania is the 24th state to adopt automatic voter registration.

Studies have found that the policy’s adoption is tied to both higher registration and higher voter turnout.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) implemented a change Tuesday that could boost both voter registration and turnout. Pennsylvania is a critical battleground in the 2024 elections.

Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images

Democrats have long argued that making it easier to register to vote, as well as to vote, leads to expanded voter participation. They also tend to believe that their party benefits from higher turnout among low-income residents and other people who vote less frequently, though that theory has been disputed in recent years.

In Pennsylvania, 8.7 million residents were registered to vote as of December 2022, even as the U.S. Census suggests that 10.3 million people are eligible to register.

The Keystone State is expected to be a critical battleground in the 2024 presidential election that could determine whether President Joe Biden remains in the White House. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) is also up for reelection in 2024 in a race that is expected to be closely fought.

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