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Dem Gov Pushes Changes To Voter Registration

In a major step towards promoting voter participation, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro announced on Tuesday that the state will be implementing automatic voter registration (AVR). With this move, Pennsylvania became the 24th state in the nation to offer automatic voter registration to its citizens.

Speaking on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Gov. Shapiro highlighted the significance of this decision, saying that it is a “safe, secure, and streamlined” way to register more eligible voters and increase their participation in the democratic process. Under the new system, all eligible citizens who visit the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to obtain or renew a driver’s license will be automatically registered to vote, unless they choose to opt out.

Shapiro also stressed that there are currently 1.7 million Pennsylvanians who are eligible to vote but are not registered. He stated that the state’s Secretary of State, Al Schmidt, has estimated that the new system would add tens of thousands of new voters in the first year itself.

For Shapiro, the decision to implement automatic voter registration is not just a policy issue, but a matter of personal conviction. In the interview, he emphasized that he had spent his entire career fighting for the right to vote and that fulfilling this promise was a key priority for him.

With this move, Pennsylvania joins other states that have adopted automatic voter registration, including California, Oregon, Colorado, and New Jersey. The National Voter Registration Act, passed by Congress in 1993, required states to offer voter registration at DMV centers. In recent years, there has been a growing push for states to automatically register their citizens to vote, instead of relying on them to proactively register themselves.

A 2021 study by researchers from the Public Policy Institute of California, the University of Southern California, and the University of California-Berkeley found that automatic voter registration has a positive impact on both voter registration and voter turnout. The study found that automatic voter registration increased registration in states where it was implemented and led to a 1% increase in actual voting.

According to data from the Department of State, there are currently 8.6 million registered voters in Pennsylvania. However, out of a total population of 13 million eligible voters, around 10 million are at least 18 years old, the minimum legal age to vote. By automatically registering eligible citizens, Pennsylvania hopes to bring more people into the voting fold and ensure that their voices are heard in the democratic process.

In conclusion, the implementation of automatic voter registration in Pennsylvania is a significant step towards promoting voter participation and ensuring that every eligible citizen has the opportunity to exercise their right to vote. With this move, Pennsylvania joins a growing number of states that have embraced this progressive policy, setting an example for other states to follow in the future.

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