Doug Mastriano, Republican nominee for Pennsylvania governor and leader of Stop the Steal campaign, is urging everyone in the state to reregister to vote, according to Yahoo! News. He claims this is the only way to gain America’s trust in voting and that there is a large amount of “phantom voters” who may jeopardize the validity of the election.
Mastriano’s concern over valid votes stems from the 2020 election, of course. However, a Pennsylvania judge ruled in 2020 that no evidence could confirm that “phantom voters” or deceased voters affected the outcome of the election, per Yahoo!. Others see the re-registration scheme as a barrier for voters of color.
“[Mastriano’s] stated desire to have voters reregister is a dog whistle designed to reinforce the racist belief that Black and other BIPOC voters are not, in fact, fully enfranchised citizens guaranteed the same rights as white voters,” said Cynthia Ann Young, professor of African American Studies and English at Pennsylvania State University, via Yahoo!.
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Pennsylvania remains one of the few states where the governor appoints a Secretary of State who oversees statewide elections. This means a Mastriano win in November could test whether laws on the books could be overturned.
“I get to appoint the secretary of state, who’s delegated from me the power to make the corrections to elections, the voting logs and everything,” Mastriano said back in March during WPIC’s Eric Bombeck radio show. “I could decertify every machine in the state with the stroke of a pen via my secretary of state.”
Mastriano fails to acknowledge that reregistration was one of the main tactics to keep Black voters from casting their ballot. Like many of today’s new voting laws, it seems some states are reverting back to the very restrictions practiced before the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
“Without constant vigilance and organized struggle against such racism, Black people can easily lose what we have fought and died to secure,” said Young.