During the COVID-19 outbreak, the Democratic-majority Supreme Court condemned Donald Trump for attacking Pennsylvania’s voting standards. As in the 2020 race, when the former Republican president and his proponents assailed rulings by the leftwing controlled Supreme Court, Trump is now complaining about the motor voter registration implemented by Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro.
Republicans have joined Trump in condemning Shapiro’s move. The Shapiro administration rejects this, arguing that automatic voter registration at the DMV will let tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians make their views known and votes count.
Democrats claim that Republicans protesting automatic voter registration are just looking for political cover in case Trump loses in 2024. They say Shapiro was well within his legal authority to sanction it. Since 2015, automatic voter registration systems have been implemented in twenty-four states and the District of Columbia, with Georgia becoming the first to do so in 2016. Since then, registrations have increased in Georgia, and the state has experienced no issues with non-citizens registering to vote.
The Shapiro administration has stated that safeguards are in place to restrict registration to minors and non-U.S. citizens. Some of these safeguards go back to 2017 when the state claimed to have solved a problem that had existed for two decades and may have mistakenly allowed several thousand non-U.S. citizens to register to vote.
Some Republicans in states that have adopted automatic voter registration are concerned that it may lead to voter fraud or illegal voting, and in Alaska, conservatives have tried to get rid of it. Despite initial hiccups in matching out-of-date information or giving unclear directions to persons registering or updating their voter information, analysts believe no widespread fraud or unlawful voting has surfaced. Proponents of automatic voter registration argue that it is more reliable, productive, and economical to manage voter lists in this way.
About 8.6 million citizens of Pennsylvania are registered to vote, but slightly more than 1 million citizens over 18 are not registered. Progressive organizations hailed automatic voter registration, and it was found to increase voter registration by 3 percent in states where it was implemented, according to a study conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California, the University of Southern California, and the University of California, Berkeley.