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Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro Gonna Do All The Voter Frauds (By Letting People Vote)
Twenty-four states now have automatic registration. Should be 50!
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro today announced that starting immediately, Pennsylvanians will be able to register to vote when they apply for or renew their driver’s licenses and state ID cards.
In a statement, Shapiro said,
Automatic voter registration is a commonsense step to ensure election security and save Pennsylvanians time and tax dollars. Residents of our Commonwealth already provide proof of identity, residency, age, and citizenship at the DMV — all the information required to register to vote — so it makes good sense to streamline that process with voter registration.
With the new system, the default for users of registration computers will be to register them to vote, giving them the option to opt out. Previously getting a driver’s license/ID and registering to vote required the user to click through 19 screens; now, it’s just 11 questions, including the chance to say “nah” to voter registration.
In addition to making registration easier for more people, NBC News reports, the new system will also mean more accurate voter rolls, since people can update their voter information at the same time they renew their licenses/IDs after a move, for instance.
As the AP reports, automatic registration doesn’t simply get more eligible voters on the rolls; it also results in more people actually voting:
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 effect, and boosted the number of people actually voting by more than 1%.
That may not seem like much of a difference until you consider how close the margins of victory in elections often are. And as Greg Sargent points out in the Washington Post (gift link), automatic registration is one strategy to overcome voter suppression, since it gets people past the bureaucratic hurdle of getting registered, the first step in getting them engaged and voting.
Sargent argues that adding tens of thousands of eligible voters to the rolls may help push back against the state GOP’s penchant for putting election deniers in control of local voting, in ways that go beyond simply increasing the raw number of registered voters:
That’s because efforts to weaken public confidence in elections often seek to exploit existing public beliefs that the system is cumbersome and prone to human error and hacking, even if those beliefs are wrong. If automatic registration can make the voter rolls more accurate and make the system of enrollment and registration more efficient and user-friendly, that could make voters less susceptible to that sort of demagoguery.
“The answer to people undermining faith in our democracy is to give people a democracy that works,” Sean Morales-Doyle, the director of the Brennan Center’s Voting Rights Program, told me. He added that automatic voter registration shows voters that “the people who are attacking our democracy are wrong” and that “the people who are running our elections are trustworthy.”
Sargent singles out Minnesota — those democracy overachievers again! — for its package of pro-democracy measures passed in May, which included not only automatic voter registration, but also a load of other measures making it easier to vote, like letting 16- and 17-year-olds preregister to vote ahead of their 18th birthday, letting voters opt in to have mail-in ballots sent for every election, expanded early voting hours, an 18-day early voting period, and protections of poll workers and voters from harassment.
And with Republicans doing everything they can to depict democracy as dangerous — imagine that, in the USA! — blue states and national Democrats need to double down on expanding voting access for all. People like democracy. Let’s remind voters at every opportunity which party thinks it’s a pretty good idea, and which one doesn’t.
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