Way back in 2010, the GOP launched a corporate and billionaire funded nationwide movement to buy majorities in state legislatures, and then use those majorities to radically gerrymander the United States.
And for the most part, it worked.
The result in Pennsylvania has been a General Assembly that has gone so far to the right it now it has given a platform to more extreme voices in the Republican Party.
The one constant check against the extreme legislation being passed by the Pennsylvania GOP has been Democratic Governor Tom Wolf. On Friday, for example, he vetoed two bills championed by far right legislators. The first was a ban on transgender athletes, a bill Wolf claims existed “solely to bully and oppress vulnerable children.”
The second veto targeted a bill that would allow any registered voter to be a “poll watcher” at any polling place in the state. The bill, introduced by 2020 election denier and January 6 attendee Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin) is designed to help right wing agitators gather in force and intimidate voters at key polling locations throughout the state. Governor Wolf pulled no punches in his veto message:
“This bill makes it possible for bad faith partisan operatives to target a specific neighborhood or group of voters in an attempt to challenge the eligibility of voters, make poll workers’ jobs more difficult, and disrupt the counting of ballots. This will only serve to slow down the election process and restrict access to the ballot box.”
The bill is a transparent attempt to depress turnout at polling places that tend to vote Democratic, introduced by an extreme GOP candidate for Governor who is hoping the intimidation might be enough to help him win in November.
Recent polling has Mastriano trailing in the Governor’s race behind Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro. Currently, Shapiro holds a narrow 49%- 46% lead as the campaigns prepare for the pivotal months to come, and the GOP now has one less voter suppression tool in its toolbox.