Governor Wolf Encourages Pennsylvanians to Use Online Voter Registration as Primary Deadline Approaches

April 10, 2017

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of State Pedro A. Cortés today reminded Pennsylvanians that Monday, April 17, is the deadline to register to vote in the May primary election. Citizens are reminded of the availability of Online Voter Registration (OVR) as a convenient option to register.

“Voting is one of our most fundamental rights as citizens,” said Governor Wolf. “Our secure online voter registration, which has been used by more than 930,000 Pennsylvanians, assists in reducing barriers for participation in the electoral process while also reducing costs for county governments.”

On May 16, primary voters who are registered as Republican or Democrat will choose the two parties’ nominees for seats on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Superior Court, Commonwealth Court, the Common Pleas Courts in each county, and Philadelphia Municipal Court.

Also on the party ballots will be a wide variety of county, school board, and local seats such as mayor, city or borough council member, township commissioner or supervisor, magisterial district judges, and precinct election officials.

Sec. Cortés encouraged eligible citizens to make use of the state’s OVR site, whether they are registering for the first time or updating an existing registration with a change of name, address or party affiliation. As of today, 932,438 users have utilized the OVR application site.

“OVR makes registering or updating an existing registration more convenient, secure and accurate than using a traditional paper form,” Secretary Cortés said. “The OVR system ensures that applications are complete when submitted, so there is much less chance for error.”

Even applicants who do not have a driver’s license or PennDOT ID card may complete their registration online, thanks to a feature that allows users to easily upload a digital copy of their signature.

Individuals wishing to register to vote in the May 16 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.
  • 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 April 17.

Pennsylvania law requires a closed primary, meaning only voters registered as Democrats or Republicans will select nominees to represent their party in the November 7 general election.

The Department of State’s website,, 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, call the Department of State’s toll-free hotline at 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772) or visit

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