BLOG: Voter Registration Deadline Is Almost Here
By: Pedro A. Cortés, Secretary of State
March 24, 2016
It’s hard to escape the fact that Pennsylvania’s day in the primary spotlight is quickly approaching. April 26 will be here before you know it. That’s why I encourage every eligible Pennsylvanian to be sure they are registered to vote and that their voter information is up to date.
Monday, March 28, is the final day that eligible citizens can apply for voter registration. With the state’s new online voter registration (OVR) system, it has never been easier to do that. Likewise, OVR makes it simple for registered voters to make changes to their name, address or party affiliation.
We recently added a signature-upload feature that means all OVR users can complete the electronic application process online. Voters who do not have a signature on file with PennDOT, or whose information is not verified by PennDOT, now will be able to upload a digital image of their signature. The technology is the same as that used by financial institutions for online banking transactions that require an electronic signature.
Previously, voters who did not have a record at PennDOT or whose record failed to match had the option of printing their applications, signing and sending to the county or asking DOS to send them a signature form. Voters with missing signatures are not registered until they have submitted their signature and will be unable to vote in the primary.
With the new signature upload feature, those voters could resubmit their application, upload a signature, and their application would be submitted electronically. This would allow the county to receive their application more quickly before the deadline.
On April 26, registered Democratic and Republican voters will cast ballots for their parties’ nominees for president, as well as for the statewide offices of Attorney General, Auditor General and Treasurer. Additionally, voters will choose party nominees for one U.S. Senate seat and all of Pennsylvania’s 18 members in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Also on the party ballots will be all state House seats in the General Assembly and state Senate seats with odd-numbered districts.
Individuals who wish to register to vote in the April 26 primary must be:
- a citizen of the United States for at least one month before the primary;
- a resident of Pennsylvania and the election district in which the individual desires to register and vote for at least 30 days before the primary; and
- at least 18 years of age on or before the date of the primary.
In addition to using the OVR site, eligible voters can register by mail or apply in person at a county voter registration office; county assistance offices; Women, Infants & Children (WIC) program offices; PennDOT photo and drivers license centers; Armed Forces recruitment centers; county clerk of orphans’ courts or marriage license offices; area agencies on aging; county mental health and intellectual disabilities offices; student disability services offices of the State System of Higher Education; offices of special education in high schools; and Americans with Disabilities Act-mandated complementary paratransit providers.
Applications for new registration, change of address or change in party affiliation must be postmarked or received in county voter registration offices by March 28. Electors who do not receive confirmation of their application within 14 days of submission should contact the voter registration office in their county.
The Department of State’s website VotesPA.com, available in English or Spanish, offers printable voter registration applications, a polling place locator and county boards of elections contact information. It also includes tips for first-time voters and members of the military.
In addition, voters can familiarize themselves with the voting system they will use in their home county on Election Day.
For more information on voter registration, please call the Department of State’s toll-free hotline at 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772) or visit VotesPA.com.
Voting is one of the most fundamental rights we have as citizens. Over the history of this nation, many people have made extraordinary sacrifices to protect that right for us. We honor them every time we go to the polls and cast our ballot.
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