September 20, 2023


Governor Josh Shapiro and Automatic Voter Registration


His predecessor wrote laws, so he thinks he can too!  Remember when Governor Tom Wolf created online voter registration without the approval of the General Assembly?  Well, yesterday Governor Josh Shapiro took another step.   He created automatic voter registration.  “The move aims to ensure “free, fair and secure elections,” according to the governor’s office.”  This from yesterday’s news release:  “Starting today, Commonwealth residents who are obtaining new or renewed driver licenses and ID cards and are eligible to vote will be automatically taken through the voter registration application process at PennDOT centers unless they opt out of doing so.” 

This from yesterday’s  “Under the new system, which goes into effect today, residents obtaining new or renewed driver’s licenses and ID cards will respond to questions to complete or update their voter registration unless they opt out.

Previously, residents were asked f they wanted to fill out a voter registration form or update their existing voter registration, which is known as an “opt in” system.”

According to county election officials they have received no guidance on just how the process will work, noting that PennDOT already has issues when it comes to voter registration.  Ever since the 1993 National Voter Registration Act (Motor Voter Act) state departments of transportation have been required to provide citizens with the option to register to vote.  The key word being “option”. 

Action Steps

SB 40 – automatic voter registration — had already been introduced by Democrat Senator Vincent Hughes, but it is apparent that Governor Shapiro did not expect the bill to pass the GOP-controlled Senate, so he took it upon himself to change the procedure and created automatic voter registration.

Automatic voter registration opens the door to a greater possibility of voter fraud.  Some people simply don’t want to vote, thus are disinterested in registering to vote.  But, now, when Pennsylvanians get a new license or renew their driver’s license at a PennDOT facility, prompts on the computer screens will take the user to a template to register to vote.  There is an opt out feature, but how prominent is the opt out button.  Additionally,  there are still many who are not comfortable using a touchscreen.  So, what can those with malicious intent do with all those registered voters who have no intention of voting but are now on the voter rolls?

Article VII, Section 1 of the PA Constitution says, “. . . shall be entitled to vote at all elections subject, however, to such laws requiring and regulating the registration of electors as the General Assemble may enact . . . .”

Let your State Rep and State Senator know your thoughts on Governor Shapiro’s overstep.

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