PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pennsylvania State Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-7th) talked with Talk Radio 1210 WPHT midday host Dom Giordano about Senate Bill #806, which would automatically register somebody to vote whenever they have any interaction with state government, such as gaming and driver’s license applications.
He was inspired to write this bill after his time at the 50th anniversary of the march in Selma, Alabama.READ MORE: Drag Racing On Temple University's Campus Turns Violent, Police Say
“Being there a couple of weeks ago in Selma, understanding what those folks had to go through 50 years ago, having their head smashed in, killed, those kinds of things just to secure the right to vote—you know, people worked hard for this, it’s important to this democracy…We’ve spent too many hours, days, weeks, months, and too much money in court to try and secure the right to vote. We need to be in the business of advancing the right to vote and the right of access to the ballot.”
Hughes feels that one of the key reasons to why the time is right for this bill is how we as a society use technology to do everyday things, and he cites the rapid response to online mortgage applications and the ease of online shopping.READ MORE: 2 Teens Injured In West Philadelphia Shooting, Vehicles, Apartment, Struck By Gunfire, Police Say
“We should utilize the technology on the most important aspect of being an American citizen, the issue of voting, the issue of democracy, and be proactive in utilizing that technology to get people at the very least registered to vote.”
He is reaching out to Sen. Lloyd Smucker (R-13th), who has proposed an online registration bill, in hopes to “finding common ground.”
One of the biggest criticisms that the bill has faced so far is the claim that the reason why most people do not vote has nothing to do with not being registered, and while Hughes is aware of that criticism, he says that he wants to make it easier for those that do want to vote and he will focus on the other issues at a later point.MORE NEWS: Segura 2 HRs, Nola Sharp, Phillies Beat Mets, Win 4th In Row
“There is no excuse for anyone not to vote. At the same time that I believe that, I also believe that we should reduce the barriers to access to ballots, to registration and to access to actual voting…We don’t live in a perfect world. So, let’s utilize the technology, lets automatically register folks to vote, let’s get the extra two million adults in Pennsylvania who could be registered but aren’t, let’s get them on the rolls and if they chose not to then they can opt out, and then let’s have the second conversation about convincing people why it’s important to vote.”