Pennsylvania, a battleground state that could play an outsize role in the 2024 presidential election, will begin to automatically register new voters as part of its driver’s license and state ID approval process, officials said on Tuesday.
The program, which was announced by Gov. Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, is similar to those offered in 23 other states and the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Voters must meet certain eligibility requirements, which include being a U.S. citizen and a Pennsylvania resident for at least 30 days before an election. They also must be at least 18 years old on the date of the next election.
“Automatic voter registration is a common-sense step to ensure election security and save Pennsylvanians time and tax dollars,” Mr. Shapiro said in a statement. “Residents of our Commonwealth already provide proof of identity, residency, age and citizenship at the D.M.V. — all the information required to register to vote — so it makes good sense to streamline that process with voter registration.”
In the 2020 election and the midterm races last year, Pennsylvania was a hotbed of falsehoods about voter fraud, promoted by former President Donald J. Trump and his allies. Republicans in the state have mounted a series of unsuccessful legal challenges over voters’ eligibility and absentee ballots that did not have dates written on their return envelopes, which a state law requires.
The move to automatic voter registration, which begins Tuesday, comes as both Republicans and Democrats keep an eye on the state as the 2024 race heats up.
The state where President Biden was born, Pennsylvania could determine not only whether he is elected to a second term, but also whether Democrats maintain control of the closely divided Senate. Senator Bob Casey, a Democrat in his third term, is facing a key re-election test.
In the near term, a special election in the Pittsburgh area on Tuesday was expected to determine the balance of power in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives.
Pennsylvania had about 8.7 million registered voters as of December 2022, according to state officials, who, citing census figures, estimated that about 10.3 million residents were eligible to register to vote.