By Anjali Nayak
Governor Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania announced that the nation’s largest swing state would soon implement automatic voter registration. Shapiro directed 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. The state has simply started prompting people to register to vote when they obtain a new or renewed driver’s license or state ID. Republicans everywhere and anywhere complained that the decision was untimely government overreach. The biggest and baddest of them all, Donald Trump threw a conniption.
“Pennsylvania is at it again!” the former president posted on Truth Social, his social-media platform. The decision, Trump says, warrants “a disaster for the Election of Republicans, including your favorite President, ME!”
Trump’s panic remains consistent with the views that any reforms designed to increase voter turnout, such as expanding mail balloting and early voting, are parts of Democratic conspiracy to rig elections in their favor. But he may be wrong to fear automatic voter registration: Although Shapiro is a Democrat, if either party stands to gain from his move, it’s likely the GOP. Reportedly predicted to lean Pennsylvania red, the reform opens the door for rural working class citizens, a predominantly Republican demographic.
However, the Republican view that increasing voter turnout will lead to victory for the Democratic Party reigns supreme. Some Republican members of the state House and Senate have begun floating legal theories under which they might challenge Shapiro’s reforms, claiming that the decision is unfair government overreach. The Freedom Caucus, a far-right leaning coalition, put out statements saying they would sue over the plan.