EDITORIAL: Easy voting exists — elsewhere

York Dispatch

Last week we reminded our readers April 20 is the deadline to register to vote in time for next month's primary election.

First-time voters, people changing party affiliation and those who recently moved are among those who have to register — either in person at the county elections office or by filling out a form and returning it by mail.

If you're among them, and have been doing your duty, you might be thinking, "There has to be a better way."

For crying out loud, you can rent a movie, order a pizza or file your income taxes online.

Why can't voter registration be at least as easy?

Well, it can.

Twenty-one states already allow online voter registration, and three others are in the process of making it available, according to a recent Associated Press report.

Half of all Americans live in these states that have decided to make it easier for their citizens to participate in the electoral process.

Even more states — 36 — allow all voters to cast ballots prior to Election Day, and 10 allow voters to register and vote on the same day, AP stated.

Where is Pennsylvania on the list of states that put a premium on voter participation?


In fact, good government groups and civil rights advocates only recently succeeded in rolling back a law that would have made it more difficult for Pennsylvanians to vote.

The voter ID law, nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to suppress turnout among certain groups of voters, would have been the most severe in the country had its GOP backers succeeded.

Not surprisingly, some of those same Republicans now seem bent on stalling renewed efforts to bring Pennsylvania's election system into the 21st century.

Gov. Tom Wolf pledged during his campaign to reform the election system, the counties that run the elections offices support the changes, and a law creating the framework for a new system — the Pennsylvania Voter Registration Act — was approved way back in 2002.

The state Senate unanimously approved a bill in 2013 to authorize online registration, but it never even cleared the House State Government Committee.

That committee's chair is state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, the Butler County Republican who also happens to be the sponsor of the unconstitutional voter ID law

Metcalfe told AP that implementing online voter registration in Pennsylvania would need to done through legislation, and such a bill is "not a high priority" for the House.

We suspect the 2002 Voter Registration Act might be all the authority Wolf needs to modernize the system — and we hope he goes that route if needed.

It's time to remove voting obstacles — be they antiquated procedures or obstructionist politicians.