Voter Registration

Tom Wolf / Twitter

  

Nearly 250 million Americans have the right to vote, but many don't exercise it.

University of Pittsburgh Professor Victoria Shineman said there are plenty of reasons for that.

"Voter registration is one of the biggest barriers, especially for initial participation," she said. "A lot of states have deadlines well before the actual election. A lot of people miss that deadline. Also things if you move, if you change your address, remembering to update your address."

David Goldman / AP

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are organizing in Pennsylvania as some Republican Party leaders are shifting their support in the contested primary.

Pennsylvania's April 26th primary is four weeks away, and voter registration is now closed with just over 4 million Democrats and more than 3 million Republicans.

State figures show that Democrats raked in more new voters in 2016, but more voters switched their registration to Republican. Both are down slightly from surges in 2008.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Pennsylvania is a closed primary state, which means you have to be registered as a Democrat to vote for either Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, and you have to be registered as a Republican to vote for John Kasich, Ted Cruz or Donald Trump.

If you’ve moved since the last time you voted, you’ll need to update your address. If you’re not registered at all but want to vote, you’ll need to register. If you’re 17 but will be 18 by April 26, go ahead and register; you’re eligible to vote in this election.

Pennsylvania Launches Online Voter Registration

Aug 28, 2015
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Pennsylvania is becoming the 23rd state to allow its residents to register as voters by going online.

The paper registration forms aren't going anywhere, but now Pennsylvanians will have the option of online voter registration due to policy change by the Wolf administration.

As primary elections draw near, the National Commission on Voting Rights has been holding a series of hearings across the country to address issues such as voter registration, voting discrimination and ballot accessibility for those with disabilities.

Voters and voting rights activists gathered in Philadelphia last week to share their experiences and the challenges they face when going to the polls.

A bipartisan array of groups wants registering to vote to be as simple as a few clicks and an Internet connection. Their members urged state House lawmakers Tuesday to advance a proposal allowing online voter registration in Pennsylvania.

It's already legal in 17 states and available in 11.

In Pennsylvania, the state Senate unanimously approved an online voter registration measure. It is now before the House State Government Committee.

The panel's chairman, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), said there are no plans at this time to hold a vote on the bill.

The agency in charge of overseeing elections in Pennsylvania is joining 23 other states that swap voter registration rolls to check for duplicates.
    
The commonwealth’s Department of State is looking to have the cross-check running by next year’s gubernatorial primary election.
    
Spokesman Ron Ruman said participating states’ voter databases will be compared for duplicates, and when one is found, it’ll be sent to local election officials.