Bizzarro calls for same-day voter registration at Capitol news conference

HARRISBURG, June 1 – Voting rights advocates joined state Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, at a news conference at the state Capitol today on Bizzarro’s legislation to make the electoral process easier through same-day voter registration.

“State law still requires residents to register to vote at least 30 days before an election,” Bizzarro said. “This antiquated system is inconvenient and deters many Pennsylvanians from exercising their right to vote. We now have the technology to make voting more accessible statewide, and I believe we should take advantage of it.” 

Bizzarro’s H.B. 13 would allow Pennsylvanians to register to vote at their polling place on Election Day, provided they supply specified proof of identification and their current address. They would then complete a provisional ballot, which would only be counted after the commonwealth’s Department of State approved the voter registration application.

Twelve other states, in addition to the District of Columbia, allow for same-day voter registration. Seven of the 10 states with the highest voter turnout in last fall’s midterm elections have same-day voter registration programs. In addition, there have been no documented cases of voter fraud as a result of same-day voter registration.

“Our democracy hinges on having an engaged electorate, but so many of our residents say they feel disconnected from the voting process,” Bizzarro said. “I believe that by making voter registration more convenient, we can encourage Pennsylvanians to be more enthusiastic about heading to the polls. It’s time to bring our voting system in line with 21st century practices and establish same-day registration.”

Supporters attending today’s news conference included H.B. 13 co-sponsor, state Rep. Kevin Schreiber, D-York; Zach Hause, director, Central Pennsylvania Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO; Barry Kauffman, executive director, Common Cause Pennsylvania; and Paige Lower, community organizer, Pennsylvania Working Families.

House Bill 13 has been referred to the House State Government Committee, where it awaits further consideration.