Starting on Tuesday, the administration of Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro will make it simpler for citizens to register to vote at the same time they obtain or renew their driver’s license. The Shapiro administration has stated that it can implement the change at driver’s license facilities without new laws or regulations.
Under the new system, those seeking a driver’s license will be directed to an online voter registration form via on-screen prompts. They are free to opt out of registration if they so desire.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, twenty-three other states and Washington, DC, have previously implemented some kind of “automatic voter registration.”
The Pennsylvania Department of State reports that 8.6 million registered voters are now. The U.S. Census estimates that out of Pennsylvania’s population of 13 million, more than 10 million are at least 18 years old and eligible to vote.
Since Congress approved the National Voter Registration Act in 1993, states must provide voter registration at driver’s license facilities.
Automatic voter registration increased registration by several percentage points in states where it was in effect and increased the number of people voting by more than 1%, according to a study conducted by researchers at the Public Policy Institute of California, the University of Southern California, and the University of California, Berkeley in 2021.
Having the ability to vote will put people at ease. Unless they opt out, the new system will require anyone renewing or obtaining a license for the first time to answer questions about their voting status.
Before this change, registration was opt-in only.
Citizenship and political affiliation questions will be asked of those who are automatically registered.
The office of Governor Shapiro has stated that the question about voter registration will not show if you are either not eligible to vote or are not a U.S. citizen.
According to Governor Shapiro’s office data, about 1.6 million eligible Pennsylvania residents are not registered to vote.
They predict tens of thousands of new voters due to this shift.