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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 19, 2023

Error-prone Automatic Voter Registration ripe for mismanagement, abuse & even fraud

Washington, D.C. – Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro today directed agencies to begin conducting Automatic Voter Registration, a process in which individuals interacting with Department of Motor Vehicles offices to obtain new or renewed driver’s licenses and state ID cards, or with other agencies such as housing, education and more, are automatically registered to vote.

Automatic Voter Registration requires state agencies—whose primary purpose is not voter registration—to transfer customer records to the state election agency in order to register individuals automatically, in turn undermining election security, creating an administrative burden on election officials, and making it harder to keep voter rolls up to date.

Pennsylvania currently allows lawfully present non-U.S. citizens to obtain driver’s licenses and state ID cards if one can provide proof of identity, including an unexpired Employment Authorization Card (EAD). EAD waiting periods traditionally required by the Department of Homeland Security to discourage frivolous asylum claims (those not based on a legitimate need for humanitarian relief) have been sidestepped by the Biden administration as illegal migrant crossings along the Southwest border approach record highs. The administration recently launched a “first-of-its-kind national campaign” urging tens of thousands of non-citizens to apply for work permits.

National Chairman of the Election Transparency Initiative and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued the following statement:

“Automatic registration is not ‘key to strengthening democracy’ as Gov. Shapiro dishonestly contends—it’s the antithesis of Election Integrity and threatens the trust of voters in fair, secure, and transparent elections they deserve. Like other schemes including same-day registration, permanent absentee voter lists, and the automatic mass mailing of absentee ballots and/or absentee ballot request forms, automatic registration leaves virtually no time to verify the accuracy of voter information. If you want to increase the likelihood of fraud, multiple or duplicate registrations, and participation of ineligible voters—such as non-citizens and illegal aliens, temporary residents, and convicted felons—look no further than the process of dumping government data onto the voter rolls.

“We urge the State Senate to immediately initiate a comprehensive investigation. Registering to vote should be an affirmative action taken by a voter where that voter’s qualifications are confirmed upon or after registration, but before they vote. One should have to opt-in, not opt out. Unfortunately, Gov. Shapiro’s government-sponsored voter registration drives will have a devastating effect on the epidemic of disenfranchised voters who already doubt our elections are conducted with fairness and honesty.”

According to an analysis by the Foundation for Government Accountability:

“Individuals who are not eligible to vote would inevitably be erroneously placed on to the voter rolls—individuals may be non-citizens, convicted of a felony, temporarily residing in the state, or not wish to register or vote in the state. This would compound the problem states already have with inaccurate and out-of-date voter rolls. Add that to the option voters have to request permanent vote-by-mail status when they register…and you have a recipe for stray ballots being delivered all over the country.”

The Election Transparency Initiative, a partnership between the American Principles Project (APP) and Susan B. Anthony (SBA) Pro-Life America, was organized to combat federal H.R. 1 and H.R. 4 legislation and advocate for state-based election reforms that voters can trust.