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State legislators introduce new bills aim at making voting easier, increasing turnout

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HARRISBURG (WOLF) -- “We should never, never suppress the vote. Just be honest with the people. Let them make their choice. We have no problem with them making their choice.”

State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski along with other state legislators, speaking at a press conference in Harrisburg today about new potential policy changes that could make it easier for Pennsylvanians to cast their votes in elections and hopefully increase voter turnout.

“We’re trying to give every American citizen, every Pennsylvanian citizen the opportunity to register and vote so that its convenient for them. They can fulfill their obligation as a Pennsylvania citizen,” Rep. Pashinski said.

Legislators plan to do just that with House Bill 945 and 946.

The first would create a process to allow same-day voter registration while the second would create an early voting window.

13 states plus the District of Columbia now offer same-day registration.

Legislators say that the voter participation rate in each was 10 percent higher in 2012 than states without that option and of the 33 states that currently allow early voting, Pennsylvania is not one of them.

The early voting bill would allow early votes to be cast 15 days prior to the election through the eve of Election Day.

FOX56 spoke with some people who are all for the new potential changes.

“On Election Day when you go to vote, you’ve got to find out where you must vote, then which district you’re from, then once you get in line, you have to wait your turn. Its very confusing with the computers. And also, you have to take time off from work, which is another factor,” Ed McGrady, of Wilkes-Barre, said.

“My mother lives with my husband and I, she’s 88 and a bad weather day means that mom might not get out to vote and voting’s everything for her. It also I think would encourage more people to get out and vote, I’ve seen other states have great success with it,” Lissa Bryan-Smith, of Wilkes-Barre, said.

Legislators also introduced other bills focused on automatic voter registration, no excuses absentee voting, and providing paid time off to vote.

Both the same-day voter registration and early voting bills are waiting to be considered further in the House State Government Committee.

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