HARRISBURG – With Gov. Josh Shapiro announcing Tuesday his administration will be implementing an automatic voter registration system in Pennsylvania, House Republican Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) said that new system should be created through legislation, not executive guidance.
“The problem here is not necessarily the end, but the means. The governor is following the sad and misguided precedent set by his predecessor that recognizes our election laws need updating and modernized but then disenfranchises the General Assembly from exercising its constitutional prerogative to make laws,” Cutler said. “This unilateral action on the eve of what is likely to be a hotly contested and close election will cause many Pennsylvania voters to continue to question the security and results of our system.”
Cutler also noted the irony of automatically registering people to vote when they obtain a state-issued identification, but then not requiring them to show that identification when they proceed to vote.
“Voter identification is a widely supported proposal that makes more sense than ever with this move toward automatic voter registration. If the Commonwealth is automatically registering people to vote when they obtain identification, they should then be required to provide that identification when they vote,” Cutler said.
In addition, Cutler pointed out questions remain about how automatic voter registration will work practically in terms of determining voter eligibility and the additional burdens it will place on an already stressed bureaucracy.
“Just because someone is eligible for a state-issued identification card does not mean they are eligible to vote. With legislative proposals that would provide driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants and the ability to vote taken away from those who commit serious crimes, there has been no information provided to us about how automatic voter registration will remain nimble in the face of change and workable in the determination of eligibility,” Cutler stated. “Even more concerning is that the burden of determining eligibility could further stress an executive branch that continues to fall short of Pennsylvania’s expectation of top-notch customer service. It is remaining questions like these that underscore the need to have major policy changes like this vetted through the legislative process instead of hasty unilateral executive action.”