Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro,  smacked down criticisms of the new automatic voter registration policy he enacted in the state on Tuesday, dismissing concerns that its method of implementation would give the 2020 voter fraud conspiracy theory believers a new in to discredit the upcoming election.

This week, Shapiro announced a new policy that allows all eligible Pennsylvania residents to be automatically registered to vote when they obtain a new driver’s license or state-issued ID card. On Wednesday, Shapiro joined “CNN This Morning” to discuss the move. He was met with questions about why, as some Republican lawmakers complain, his action did not go through a formal legislative process. 

Shapiro responded, in part, by stating that he was “well within my legal authority” in enacting the policy and his team had ensured the registration process is “secure and safe,” adding that the move is good for bolstering voter participation and democracy.

Co-anchor Poppy Harlow then asked Shapiro to respond to a tweet from former Donald Trump aide Stephen Miller, who expressed doubt that the automatic registration process would go through any citizenship verification. But Shapiro declined, dubbing Miller a “dope who can’t tell the truth.”

When Harlow interjected, further pressing the Democratic governor about the substance of Miller’s post, Shapiro hit the network for pushing GOP talking points. 

“Well, he doesn’t raise any substance,” Shapiro shot back, explaining that the Department of Motor Vehicles’ process for license renewal has built-in safeguards to confirm citizenship in the documents it requires. After Shapiro elaborated, co-anchor Phil Mattingly brought attention to the potential concern that the lack of legislative procedure for this new measure gives individuals who dismissed the election results in 2020 more grounds to question them in 2024. 

“Phil, respectfully, I think you’re just giving their lies too much oxygen,” Shapiro replied, recalling how he worked post-2020 election to disprove the false claims about widespread voter fraud.

“This builds on that work we’ve done. Voter participation is central to our democracy, and those who are standing up trying to make it harder for people to vote? That’s anti-democratic, that’s anti-freedom, and that is not how we do things here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.” 

Tatyana Tandanpolie

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