Pennsylvania Voter Registration System Elicits Praise from Fair Elections Group

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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of State Pedro A. Cortés recently launched an online voter registration system in the state, which means Pennsylvanians are now able to register and update their voter registration by simply visiting the state’s website, votespa.com.

It was a move that was lauded by many fair-elections groups, including the Advancement Project, a multiracial civil rights organization.

“Pennsylvania’s new online voter registration program is a very positive measure to increase free, fair and accessible elections,” said Advancement Project Senior Attorney and Director of Voter Protection Katherine Culliton-González. “The current voter registration system leaves out many voters of color, young voters, and low-income voters because it is inconvenient and those with less income or time have more difficulty registering.”

Here is the rest of her statement:

“This new program will increase the convenience of voting by permitting voters to register from the convenience of their home or anywhere else they may have internet access. It also complements the mail-in and third-party voter registration systems that will stay in place, so it will not leave out voters without internet access. Since online voter registration data does not have be entered manually by staff, it is projected to reduce costs, save the Commonwealth money and improve the accuracy of voter rolls.

“We are also pleased that online voter registration is being offered bilingually, in Spanish. Pennsylvania is home to over 540,000 Latino citizens over 18, and in 2014, only 37.7 percent were registered. Among Pennsylvania’s one million African-American citizens of voting age, in 2014, their registration rate in Pennsylvania was also currently lower than in other states, at 49.2 percent, whereas the average rate of registration in the Commonwealth was 61.7 percent. We hope that this new measure will help more this measure may help more citizens to register and participate in our democracy.

“The timing is excellent – these measures should be put into place prior to the 2016 election cycle begins, across the country. Kudos to Pennsylvania Secretary of State Cortes for this initiative.”

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