The Student News Site of Conestoga High School



Automatic voter registration implemented in Pennsylvania


By Vanessa Chen, Staff Reporter

On Sept. 19, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro announced the statewide adoption of automatic voter registration.

The new system automatically guides eligible state residents through the voter registration process when they interact with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, whether it is through obtaining or renewing their driver’s license or getting approved for a new state ID. This allows for more efficiency and accuracy, as the information required to register to vote is the same as what is already provided when working with Pennsylvania DMVs.

According to Shapiro, the implementation of this system, which is already in use in 23 other states and Washington, D.C., is a significant step toward streamlining the voting process.

“Pennsylvania is the birthplace of our democracy, and as governor, I’m committed to ensuring free and fair elections that allow every eligible voter to make their voice heard,” Shapiro said in a press release.

While the state’s voter registration system was originally an opt-in to vote process, residents now have to opt out of registering either online or at DMVs. 

The Shapiro administration said that this improves both the accuracy and security of voting in elections.

The change also includes an increase in the number of available languages in the voting system from 26 to 31, allowing more eligible residents to be involved in the election process.

Senior Cooper Ballard believes that it is important to get as many people registered to vote as possible. As president of the Conestoga New Voters Club, he works to achieve this goal.

“I think most high schoolers aren’t really aware that they can actually vote,” Ballard said. “When you turn 18, you’re like, ‘I’m an adult now,’ (but) they don’t really have that thought process immediately jumping to the election process.”

New Voters aims to get young people involved in the voting process not just at Conestoga but throughout the state as well. Ballard communicates with Chester County Democrats and representatives at nearby schools and colleges to expand the club’s mission.

“Our entire goal is to reach out to schools in the area to ensure that young people from ages 18 to 25 get registered (to vote) because nowadays young voices are super important in the election process,” Ballard said.

According to the New Voters website, automatic voting registration of eligible students is a step toward ensuring everyone has a voice in democracy. Ballard believes that voting is especially important with the upcoming Pennsylvania municipal elections on Nov. 7, as well as in the 2024 presidential election in which Pennsylvania will likely play a crucial role as a swing state.

“These votes in elections serve as a pathway to our future,” Ballard said. “As young people, there’s a big future that lies ahead of us, so getting involved early with the election process and ensuring that we are electing members to Congress and as president (will) ensure that our future can be restored.”

Vanessa Chen can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Vanessa Chen, Staff Reporter
Vanessa Chen is a sophomore and a Staff Reporter for The Spoke. She has previously written for the T/E Life and News sections. Outside of the newsroom, she enjoys marching band, tennis and art.