Governor Wolf, Secretary of State: Half million Pennsylvanians have used online voter registration

September 19, 2016

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of State Pedro A. Cortés today announced that a half million eligible Pennsylvania citizens have used the state’s online voter registration (OVR) since its launch in August 2015.

“This accomplishment is a testament to the importance and popularity of lowering barriers to participation in the electoral process and, generally, making more government services accessible to people online,” Governor Wolf said.

The OVR application site registered its 500,000th user on Saturday, September 17 at 4:05pm. The 500,000th applicant was a resident of Lancaster County.

“Whether registering for the first time or updating their registrations, Pennsylvania voters are embracing the ease and efficiency of OVR,” Secretary Cortés said. “Applying for a voter registration online brings convenience and accessibility to the process, just as it does for banking, shopping and other transactions.”

Marian Schneider, deputy secretary for elections and administration, added that voters are not the only ones who have welcomed OVR.

“As we approach the high volume of registration activity that accompanies each presidential election, many county elections officials are also reaping benefits,” Schneider said. “The online application reduces errors because all required information must be included before a form can be submitted. Also, the online form reduces the amount of data entry counties must perform.”

Governor Tom Wolf joined Secretary Cortés in rolling out OVR on August 27, 2015. The application drew 5,000 users in the first week. By the end of 2015, usage had topped 56,000.

To date, approximately 58 percent of users have been eligible citizens registering for the first time, while the remaining 42 percent were voters making updates to their existing voter registration, such as a change of name, address or party affiliation.

Also in keeping with its emphasis on innovation, the Department recently launched 2Vote, a voter registration text messaging service. Simply text “PA” to “2Vote” (28683) on a smartphone. The user will receive a link that provides direct access to the online voter registration application. Also included are links to check voter registration status, locate your polling place and find contact information for county offices and the Department of State.

October 11 is the registration deadline for those who want to vote in the November 8 general election.

The online voter registration system, available in English or Spanish, is more secure for applicants because the form is transmitted directly to the appropriate county voter registration office for processing. The latest protocols in data security have been built into the system and are constantly monitored and updated.

Earlier this year, a signature-upload feature was added to the application, making registration a fully online process even for those who do not have a Pennsylvania driver’s license or PennDOT ID card.

To learn more about online voter registration, check the frequently asked questions at votesPA.com.


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