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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: March 18, 2015 02:13 PM
From: Representative Scott Conklin and Rep. Brian Sims
To: All House members
Subject: Automatic Voter Registration
In the near future, we plan to introduce legislation reforming the voter registration system by instituting automatic registration of all eligible voters with provisions for opt out.

Voting is a fundamental right bestowed upon all Americans; one which many forego due to the burdens associated with voter registration, and the time and financial costs resulting from going to the polls. In this age of technology, it is incumbent upon this General Assembly to find efficient and less taxing methods for assisting the citizens of the Commonwealth in exercising this fundamental right. Accordingly, we will be introducing legislation to address this matter.

Under our proposal, the responsibility of voter registration will be passed from eligible voters onto the Pennsylvania Department of State and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Beginning July 1, 2015, the Secretary of the Commonwealth will initiate a program to automatically register eligible voters whose information is provided to PennDOT for the purpose of obtaining a driver’s license or Pennsylvania identification card. The Secretary of the Commonwealth will use the PennDOT data, which includes information on whether a person is a citizen, to register voters, who would then be sent a postcard with information on how to opt out of registration altogether and how to choose a party affiliation. Under my proposal, a newly registered voter will have 21 days to opt out or registration.

As you may be aware, on March 16, 2015, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed a similar proposal into law. We believe now is the time for Pennsylvania adopt this innovative approach to voter registration. By reforming this cumbersome process, the General Assembly can send a message, to the citizens of this Commonwealth, that we value their input and we continue to encourage their participation.

Please join us in supporting this important legislation.

Introduced as HB1306