State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, (D) Erie, today urged enactment of his legislation that would free qualified state residents to go to their polling place on Election Day, register to vote and cast their ballot”
“My House Bill 101 – same day voter registration — removes unwarranted, archaic and costly barriers to voting, increases voter turnout and can save money,” Bizzarro said.
Bizzarro, speaking at a Capitol news conference where various voting-reform measures were outlined, said studies have shown that states that have implemented same day voter registration have higher rates of participation than states like Pennsylvania, where a person has to register at least 30 days before an election to cast a ballot.
“Pennsylvania needs to get out of its 19th century rut when it comes to voting and elections,” Bizzarro said. “As many as 36 million Americans change addresses each year. Why disenfranchise many of them by not offering same day registration?
“With same day registration, voters can simply update registration records or register anew at the polling place and vote a ballot that will be counted,” Bizzarro said. “It especially assists geographically mobile and young voters and reduces the need for provisional ballots, saving elections officials the time and expense of processing them.”
Bizzarro discredited fears that same day registration would compromise the integrity of the vote.
“House Bill 101 addresses concerns about the potential for voter fraud by not allowing a ballot cast by an Election Day-registrant to be counted until the Department of State has verified his or her eligibility,” Bizzarro said. “It’s not as if you can just show up and vote — you have to register and provide necessary identification.”
House Bill 101 awaits consideration in the House State Government Committee.
Other measures outlined during Tuesday’s midday news conference included:
— H.B. 75, providing Pennsylvania voters with early voting and no-excuse absentee balloting;
— H.B. 1546, permitting eligible voters to cast their ballot by mail;
— H.B. 1465, allowing citizens to pre-register to vote at age 16 and automatically registering qualified electors when they interact with state agencies; and
— S.B. 608, upgrading and streamlining voter registration.