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Local News

Group pushes to register 60,000 new voters in Pennsylvania

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Danielle Smith, Public News Service

The Keystone State’s primary election is less than 90 days away, and a nonpartisan, grassroots organization is already getting the word out to residents about the importance of voting and voter registration.

More than 8.7 million Pennsylvania voters could participate in the local municipal primaries on April 23.

Kadida Kenner, CEO of the New PA Project Education Fund and the New Pennsylvania Project, said more than 2.1 million eligible Pennsylvanians are still unregistered or at risk of losing their right to vote because they haven’t voted in a while. She said the group’s ongoing commitment throughout this year is to register more voters in the Commonwealth.

“This year, we do have an aspirational goal of registering 60,000 Pennsylvanians to vote. And 60,000 for us is a doable number because we are a statewide organization,” she said.

She added Pennsylvania does not have same-day voter registration. Residents have to register before the strict deadline of April 8 to vote in the primary. The last day to request a mail-in or absentee ballot is April 16.

Kenner said Black History Month is a critical time to remember that voter registration wasn’t meant to be inclusive, but to restrict voting access. She emphasized the groups’ year-round primary focus is not only on voter registration but also civic education and mobilization, especially in marginalized communities that may still face voting barriers.

“We center Black, indigenous and other people of color in this work. We center the immigrant community. We center the youth, 17 to 35-year-olds, here in Pennsylvania. And we center them with intention, because they’re the ones who are consistently left out of the democratic process.”

Kenner said over the span of two years, her organizations have registered more than 33,000 Pennsylvanians to vote. She added it’s important for Pennsylvanians to register to vote and participate at the polls, and emphasized it’s never too late, as demonstrated by two centenarians who registered for the first time last year.

This article originally appeared on Public News Service and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.