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Think Automatic Voter Registration Favors Dems? Think Again.

Automatic voter registration at motor vehicle offices was implemented in the Keystone State on September 19 and almost immediately, hues and cries went out from state and national Republicans.

Former President Donald Trump said on social media that the move would be a “disaster” for electing Republicans, called it unconstitutional, and said the Republican National Committee and Pennsylvania Republican Party “must … not let this happen.”

The RNC and Pennsylvania Republican Party followed suit, questioning the Department of State and PennDOT about the legality of the program and asking how ineligible voters would be kept off the rolls.

State House Minority Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) said the announcement by Gov. Josh Shapiro “disenfranchises the General Assembly from exercising its constitutional prerogative to make laws.” A joint statement from members of state Senate Republican leadership said Shapiro’s announcement was a “unilateral decision made by the Executive Branch and without input by the General Assembly.”

The governor had announced that he was directing the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Department of State to change the system by which citizens register to vote while receiving a license or identification card. Whereas employees previously would offer motorists a chance to register to vote, now they automatically lead motorists through the process to register unless motorists opt out. The same documents that confirm a motorist’s identity, citizenship, and address are used in the voter registration submission.

While leadership statements from the GOP have emphasized questions about Shapiro’s authority, other Republican leaders have suggested the move was partisan and questioned safeguards around the program.

Are they right? Would it be a disaster for electing GOP candidates to office?

Looking at early returns … uh, no.

Since September 19, there have been 32,857 new automatic voter registrations in the Commonwealth, according to the Department of State. And the leader in the clubhouse is – other.

That’s right – other. More than 11,000 registrations (11,663) have indicated a preference for neither Republicans nor Democrats. That’s more than one-third (35.5%).

Those registering as Republicans were second at 33.95% (11,155), while Democrats ran third at 30.55% (10,039)

In the same time period two years ago, the order was much different with Dems (8,931) leading both other (8,503) and Republicans (7,685).

In comparison to the 2021 time frame, registrations are up 31% with over 7,700 more applications in 2023.

5 Responses

  1. It’s sad that as republicans bring governing to a halt with obstructionism and antagonistic behavior, it’s seen by the public as being the fault of “ both sides”. All they see is that nothing is getting done. The same thing happened during the Obama years, when Republicans stuck to Mitch McConnells plan of refusing to work with President Obama. They simply refused to allow votes on any Democratic bills, no matter how helpful they’d be for the public (ie: the Jobs Bill). Despite the Democrats having the majority at the time, McConnell used the FILLIBUSTER to grind government to a halt. And Obama got the blame. As intended. Few in the general public are informed on the workings of congress. Today’s House of Representatives is allowing the MAGA minority to control their votes, out of fear of being attacked by Trump. A sad display of cowardice.

  2. But who here thinks the PA Republicans will actually use this data to their advantage? And start promoting voter registration? Not a chance… Their own worst enemies.

    1. Hopefully, many of those newly registered will not be motivated enough to bother to vote, anyway. We don’t need a lot of ill informed people voting for another third party candidate!

    1. He had the same appeal to ill-informed people that the Confederacy has: an image of Rebellion and non-conformity. And male bravado. All superficial nonsense, but it appeals to a certain element.


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