Gov. Josh Shapiro’s administration said that starting Tuesday, it will be easier for someone to register to vote when they obtain or renew their Pennsylvania driver’s license.
Under the new format, prompts on computer screens at driver’s license centers will direct the user to a template for registering to vote. This gives them the choice not to register. Previously, prompts on the computer screen first asked the user if they wanted to register to vote.
Twenty-three other states and Washington, D.C., already have different models of what’s called “automatic voter registration,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
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The Shapiro administration has said it does not need legislation or regulation to make this change at driver’s license centers.
There are currently 8.6 million registered voters in Pennsylvania, according to information from the Department of State. More than 10 million Pennsylvanians out of 13 million total are at least 18, the minimum legal voting age, according to U.S. Census figures.
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States have been required to offer voter registration at driver’s license centers since Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act in 1993.
Researchers from the Public Policy Institute of California, the University of Southern California, and the University of California, Berkeley concluded in a 2021 study that automatic voter registration increased registration by several percentage points in states where it was in force and increased the number of people. in fact, they voted by more than 1%.