(Center Square) – Residents who receive or renew their driver’s license and state ID card will be automatically registered to vote.
Gov. Josh Shapiro made the announcement Tuesday morning, joining Pennsylvania on a list of 23 other states — including Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Georgia, Virginia and West Virginia — that automatically guide candidates all the way through along the process, unless they withdraw.
“Pennsylvania is the birthplace of our democracy, and as governor, I am committed to ensuring free and fair elections that allow every eligible voter to make their voice heard,” Shapiro said. said. “Automatic voter registration is a common-sense measure to ensure election security and save Pennsylvanians time and taxpayer dollars.”
He said the new provision “makes sense” given that residents provide proof of residency, age, citizenship and identity when applying for a license or ID card.
The announcement comes after a few years of controversy over the security of the state’s voting procedures following the adoption of no-excuse absentee voting in 2019. Republican lawmakers have pushed for voter ID to bridge what they call glaring flaws in the process, while Democrats have long opposed the measure, calling it an intentional disenfranchisement of marginalized communities.
Democratic leaders, however, view the administration’s policy shift as a victory for universal voting access.
Sen. Vince Hughes, Democrat of Philadelphia, said the “improvement” vindicates legislation he introduced to do the same and is “a testament to all the civil and voting rights leaders who marched, raised their voices and fought for a system that includes all.” Americans, including black and brown individuals or those who may feel intimidated about getting involved. »
“We are better and stronger when we bring all voices and perspectives together,” he said.
In a statement to Center Square, York County Republican Rep. Seth Grove said he was “baffled” by the continued resistance to voter ID, “while at the same time expanding the use of” motorized voter”.
“Driver’s license is by far the most common form of voter ID, so it would make sense for an initiative like this to be tied to voter ID,” he said. “Voting and registering to vote should be easy to do and hard to cheat. The governor should be focused on both, unfortunately that is not the case.”
In 2021, Grove authored a broad update to the state’s absentee voting law that would include, among other provisions, voter identification, restrictions on ballot drop boxes and new canvassing deadlines. Despite bipartisan agreement on many proposals, Former Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration rebuffed any attempt to enact a universal voter ID card..
The governor later told the Philadelphia Inquirer he was not opposed to expanding the state’s voter ID law, but not in the way Grove’s bill proposed.