Some Pennsylvania GOP members are beginning to reconsider their party’s stance on mail-in voting as the party reckons with major losses in the midterm elections that may be partly attributable to their aversion to the practice.
Over the last two years, Republican lawmakers and candidates in the Keystone State have been openly against mail-in voting, claiming the practice has made elections susceptible to voter fraud. After record voter turnout and Democratic gains in the 2020 election partly due to no-excuse mail-in voting, many Republicans in the state responded by filing lawsuits and introducing legislation that sought to end the practice altogether.
Now, after a stronger-than-expected performance from Democrats in the midterm elections, particularly in Pennsylvania, some Republicans are beginning to consider whether they should embrace mail-in voting in 2024.
“There’s no question in my mind that Republicans have to have a different mail-in strategy,” Andy Reilly, a Republican National Committeeman in Pennsylvania, told Politico. “When one party votes for 30 days and one party votes for one, you’re definitely going to lose.”
Democrats are more likely to cast mail-in ballots than their Republican counterparts, especially over the last two years, as former President Donald Trump and other party leaders claimed the practice caused widespread voter fraud and cost the party the 2020 presidential election. Those claims were a reversal from 2019, when Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania helped pass a law that legalized no-excuse mail-in voting across the state.
Claims of voter fraud continued into 2022, with Republican candidates such as Doug Mastriano vowing to eliminate mail-in voting if elected. Mastriano lost the governor’s race to Democrat Josh Shapiro.
Republicans lost a number of other key midterm races in Pennsylvania, including for the Senate, House, and the state legislature.
“Republican and conservative activists need to embrace mail-in voting, as it isn’t going away any time soon,” wrote GOP state Rep. Russ Diamond. “Our goal isn’t to convince regular voters to vote by mail, but to figure out how to cultivate mail-in votes from those registered Republicans who vote infrequently or don’t vote at all.”