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State Senator Vincent Hughes: On the Issues Facebook Twitter

Sen. Hughes and wife Sheryl Lee Ralph at Selma 50th Anniversary commemoration
Sen. Hughes and wife Sheryl Lee Ralph at Selma 50th Anniversary commemoration
President Obama
President Obama Selma Speech 2015 on 50th 'Bloody Sunday' at Edmond Pettus Bridge

Sen. Hughes Introduces Universal Voter Registration Bill to Honor The 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the Passage of the Voting Rights Act


50 years ago, thousands of people marched in Selma, Alabama to secure the right to vote for all Americans. Many gave their lives in that struggle. We have made much progress since then, but the dream of universal voter registration is something that has yet to be achieved. In fact, there are efforts underway to reverse the progress that has been made. Some are pushing legislation in Pennsylvania and nationwide, such as the so-called "Voter ID" law, that would deny people the right to vote.

That’s why I’ve introduced Senate Bill 806 which aims to make Pennsylvania a national leader in voter registration by automatically registering any eligible person to vote when they interact with government agencies. I am proud to have introduced this bill on the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the federal Voting Rights Act. 

Any individual who applies for employment with a government agency, applies for a state license or permit, applies for a state program, or public benefits, or applies for admission to a state-owned or state-related university will automatically be registered to vote based on information included in the application.

Pennsylvania can become the national leader in voter registration, but I need your help. Please share this e-mail with your friends, family, and co-workers. Together, we can raise awareness of my legislation and expand the number of people who participate in the political process.


State Senator Vincent Hughes

March 17, 2015: Senator Vincent Hughes along with fellow PA legislators joined voting rights advocates at the National Constitution Center to announce Senate Bill 806 which would automatically register eligible voters.

How Oregon may have sparked a voter registration revolution

By Ellen Frankman (Public Radio International) | March 20, 2015

This week, Oregon became the first state to use Department of Motor Vehicle records to automatically register residents to vote. Lawmakers in that state say it will add about 300,00 voters to their rolls.

March 17, 2015: Sen. Hughes Remarks on Universal Voter Registration Legislation
Universal Voter Registration Legislation :: March 17, 2015

“This bill is about making government work better — treating citizens as customers and giving them access to the service they expect,” said Oregon Governor Kate Brown. “When someone moves to Oregon, why should they have to fill out multiple forms for multiple agencies? They should be able to complete one form, one time.”

Read More »

Philly Democrat Proposes Automatic Pa. Voter Registration

By Bill Hangley (Newsworks) | March 17, 2015

March Inspired by a civil rights anniversary and a new law in the Pacific Northwest, a Philadelphia Democrat is pushing to make voter registration automatic in Pennsylvania.

"We will no longer play defense," said state Sen. Vincent Hughes at a Tuesday news conference at the Constitution Center, where he announced a new bill to create a "universal, automatic" registration system. "We will no longer be in a position where we will allow folks to deny us the opportunity to vote. We are now engaging fully in securing the right to vote for every Pennsylvania citizen who legally can do it."

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Lawmaker Wants To Make Voter Registration in Pennsylvania More Automatic

By Cherri Gregg (CBS) | March 17, 2015

Several Pennsylvania lawmakers today joined voting rights advocates at the National Constitution Center to announce a new bill that they say would move toward universal voter registration in the commonwealth.

Still, the group is prepared for an uphill battle.

Edmund Pettus Bridge“We will no longer play defense,” said state senator Vincent Hughes (D-Phila.), who says he was inspired by the anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Ala. to introduce Senate Bill 806, which would automatically register eligible voters.

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Is Pennsylvania Ready for Automatic, Universal Voter Registration?

By Holly Otterbein (Philadelphia Magazine) | March 10, 2015

State Sen. Vincent Hughes traveled to Selma, Alabama this past weekend to commemorate the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement in which police brutally beat non-violent activists. The events led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

Hughes, a Philadelphia Democrat, says he is now introducing legislation that would implement universal voter registration across Pennsylvania in order to honor those who demonstrated in 1965.

Read More »

Pa. Senator Proposes Automatic Voter Registration Law

By Myles Snyder (WHTM) | March 11, 2015

A Pennsylvania senator says he plans to introduce a bill that would automatically register people to vote when they use the services of certain state agencies.

Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) said his proposal would essentially change Pennsylvania’s voter registration system from an “opt-in” system to an “opt-out” system.

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Learn more about the issues and provide your feedback on my website at as well as on Facebook and Twitter (@SenatorHughes).

Offices of State Senator Vincent Hughes

4950 Parkside Avenue | Suite 300
Philadelphia, PA 19131
Phone: 215.879.7777
Fax: 215.879.7778
Senate Box 203007
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3007
Phone: 717.787.7112
Fax: 717.772.0579
President Obama Selma Speech 2015 on 50th 'Bloody Sunday' at Edmond Pettus Bridge