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January 24, 2019

State Rep. wants Pennsylvania to embrace automatic voter registration

Just 61 percent of the state's voting-age population voted in the 2016 election

Elections Voter Registration
Pennsylvania voting machines elections Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Voting machines at a polling location in the dining room of The Gold Standard Cafe on Baltimore Ave. in West Philadelphia on Tuesday, May 15, 2018.

With the road to the 2020 Presidential Election starting to take shape, “get out the vote” measures are starting earlier than ever.

Pennsylvania State Rep. Sara Innamorato, who represents the 21st District in Allegheny County, proposed a measure as part of a Democratic package of bills that would automatically register any qualified citizen, who interacts with the state’s government services, to vote.

The act, called You’re Registered, proposes “automatically register[ing] every qualified citizen interacting with Pennsylvania government to vote. Driver’s licenses, benefit applications, any interaction gets you registered to vote unless you say ‘no.’”

The Pennsylvania Department of State estimates 87 percent of the state’s voting-age population was registered for the 2016 election, but just 61 percent of the same voting-age population cast a ballot in the 2016 election.

According to Pittsburgh City Paper, 15 states have already instituted automatic voter registration.

Enacting automatic voter registration in Oregon in 2016 saw a four-percent bump in voter turnout from 2012, when the state didn’t have automatic voter registration.

The 2020 Presidential Election will be held on Nov. 3, 2020.

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