Gov. Josh Shapiro’s administration announced Tuesday that it is making voter registration the default option when eligible residents obtain driver’s licenses and other state IDs.
Starting Tuesday, residents applying for ID at Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) photo license centers will automatically see a screen for voter registration and will be taken through the process unless they opt out. Previously, the system was “opt in,” with applicants first asked if they wanted to register.
The new sequence, known as “automatic voter registration,” has been implemented in 23 other states and the District of Columbia. It has been found to increase voter registration by several percentage points and voter turnout by upward of 1%, according to a study by the Public Policy Institute of California.
The announcement was made on National Voter Registration Day, a national observance aimed at raising awareness of voter registration and voting rights.
“Automatic voter registration is a commonsense step to ensure election security and save Pennsylvanians time and tax dollars,” Shapiro said in a statement.
Residents already provide the necessary info for voter registration when they apply for a driver’s license or photo ID, including proof of identity, residency, age and citizenship, “so it makes good sense to streamline that process with voter registration,” Shapiro said.
Automatic voter registration reduces administrative burdens on county elections offices and makes it easier for members of the military, who tend to move frequently, to maintain their voter registration, the administration said.
For more information about voter registration in Pennsylvania, click here. The last day to register before the Nov. 7 general election is Oct. 23.