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https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20170&cosponId=20934
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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: December 1, 2016 12:17 PM
From: Representative Ed Gainey
To: All House members
Subject: Automatic Voter Regisatration & Voter ID - Former HB 1874
 
In the near future, I plan to re-introduce legislation reforming the voter registration system by instituting automatic registration of all eligible voters with provisions for opt out. To ensure the integrity of our elections, my proposal will also require the issuance of voter identifications for all newly registered, qualified electors.

Voting is a fundamental right guaranteed to all Americans. Without Women’s Suffrage and the Civil Rights Movement, many of us would not be able to enjoy a right for which our predecessors fought. Unfortunately, many do not vote citing the burdens associated with voter registration, and the time and financial costs resulting from going to the polls as their reasons. In this age of technology, this General Assembly has an obligation to find efficient and effective methods for assisting the citizens of the Commonwealth in exercising this fundamental right.

Under my proposal, the responsibility of voter registration will be passed from eligible voters onto the Pennsylvania Department of State. The Secretary of the Commonwealth will initiate a program to automatically register eligible voters whose information is provided to PennDOT, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, or the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. The Secretary of the Commonwealth will forward the data, which includes citizenship and other pertinent information, to the registration commission of the county in which the qualified elector resides. The commission will then send a postcard with information on how to opt out of registration altogether and how to choose a party affiliation. A newly registered voter will have 21 days to opt out of registration. If the commission does not receive a notice to cancel, the individual shall be assigned a unique number from the Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors and mailed a voter identification.

As you may be aware, in March 2015, Oregon enacted the first automatic voter registration law; since then five (6) other states have followed suit (Alaska, California, Connecticut, Vermont & West Virginia - Illinois passed a bill that the Governor vetoed) . I believe it is time that Pennsylvania follow this trend and ensure access to the ballot for all qualified electors.

Please join me in supporting this important legislation.

Previous co-sponsors include: SANTARSIERO, KINSEY, V. BROWN, YOUNGBLOOD, SCHLOSSBERG, WHEATLEY, BIZZARRO, ROZZI, J. HARRIS, SIMS, SCHWEYER, THOMAS, KIM, McNEILL, D. COSTA, NEILSON, MCCLINTON AND BULLOCK


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Introduced as HB193