PA Senate Unanimously Votes for Online Voter Registration

RandyLANDThe Pennsylvania State Senate just passed a bill—unanimously, 49-0—that would allow Pennsylvanians to register to vote online. The bill, introduced by Sen. Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster), was similarly introduced last session, but did not get anywhere.

Several groups, including Common Cause PA, Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania and the Philly-based Committee of Seventy, had been advocating for online voter registration. When we spoke about the issue with Seventy’s Ellen Kaplan last month, she noted this past election’s voter registration backlog may have been avoided if registering to vote didn’t have to be done with paper ballots.

“We predict that this will significantly expand the number younger citizens taking part in our elections and all the research shows that young voters are environmental voters,” noted the Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania on their Facebook page after the bill was passed.

Interestingly, the Pennsylvania Dept. of State attempted to enact online registration itself, but cancelled the idea before the 2012 elections due to the trouble and confusion surrounding Voter ID.

“For individuals who wish to change their party registration, address, or name, this legislation allows for a simple, secure, and convenient way to update voter records. It makes registration more convenient, will encourage more participation, and represents a positive step to bring Pennsylvania into the 21st Century,” noted State Sen. Matt Smith (D-Allegheny) in a news release upon the bill’s passage.

The legislation will now go to the state House.

Follow Randy on Twitter: @RandyLoBasso

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