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Responsive Gov’s Grade TL;DR

For yet another session, the General Assembly failed to act to expand voting rights. And once again, it was gubernatorial action that made the difference. This past year, Governor Shapiro authorized procedural changes to institute partial automatic voter registration (PAVR) at the DMV. Because of this bold action by the governor after the inaction by the Assembly, Pennsylvania received a B+ on this year’s progress report.

Looking Back

Where Pennsylvania Started at the Beginning of 2023

  • Automatic Voter Registration: No
  • Online Voter Registration: Open to all Eligible Voters
  • Same-Day Registration: No
  • Restoration of Rights: Prison Disenfranchisement
  • Vote by Mail: No-Excuse
  • Electronic Registration Information Center Member: Yes
  • Early Voting Opportunities: In-Person Absentee
  • ID Requirements: No Document Required

Relying on the Cost of Voting Index for Pennsylvania as of 2022, we considered the state a middle tier state for pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2023 activity against other middle tier states.

How Our Tier Compares

  • COVI (2022): 32nd
  • EPI Score (2020): 35th
  • CLC State Scorecard (2022): 7/10
  • MAP Democracy Rating (2022): FAIR

2023: This Past Year

Legislative Action

The Assembly passed only one election-related bill last session.

  • HR 47 is a resolution that directs the Joint State Government Commission to conduct a study on “voting patterns and knowledge about voting rights among formerly incarcerated qualified electors in Pennsylvania.”

Executive Action

  • Governor Shapiro instituted partial automatic voter registration (PAVR) at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Last fall, the governor authorized a procedural change that will create an opt-out registration process when eligible individuals obtain or renew a license or ID card with PennDOT.