ROUND-UP: Governor Wolf, Secretary Cortés Launch Online Voter Registration in Pennsylvania

August 28, 2015

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of State Pedro Cortés announced that Pennsylvania is the latest state to launch the convenient and efficient option of registering to vote online.  The online registration application, hosted by the Department of State, is now available for use by eligible citizens at  In the first day, 1,310 applications were submitted through

Legislators, community leaders, and voting rights groups statewide lauded the decision. Check out some of the coverage of the announcement below:

Reading Eagle: County officials welcome online voter registration in Pennsylvania.

“Within the first three hours of going live, Pennsylvania’s new online voter registration system had logged 200 registrants… On Thursday, Gov. Tom Wolf announced the launch of a new system allowing Pennsylvanians to register to vote online…

Despite bitter battles over election laws, most recently a voter ID law that was later overturned after a court battle, experts don’t expect the move to electronic registration in Pennsylvania to draw partisan skirmishes. ‘It’s not a controversial issue; it’s being done in the deepest red states and blue states,’ said David Becker, director of The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Election Initiatives, which conducts analysis and advocacy on election issues. ‘Pennsylvania is very much in the mainstream on this,’ he added…  Following the system’s debut Thursday, Debbie Olivieri, elections director for Berks County, welcomed moving from the antiquated paper forms the county uses to electronic entries… In Montgomery County, where there are more than 534,000 registered voters, county spokesman Frank Custer called the system a positive move to get more voters in the system. ‘Obviously, we are happy,’ Custer said…  ‘In an electronic age, it makes sense for a segment of the population to register electronically if we have proper safeguards and validation steps,’ said Rep. Mark Gillen, a Robeson Township Republican.” [Reading Eagle, 08/28/15]

WICU/WSEE TV: PA Launches New Online Voter Registration.

“Governor Wolf unveiled today, that Pennsylvania would be the latest state to launch online voter registration. As of Thursday, the online registration website is up and running. Erie County Clerk of Elections, Doug Smith says he hopes that it will encourage younger voters to register. ‘I think it’s been overdue for a long time given the amount of people that use their computers on a regular basis, especially in the sense of younger people who are not yet registered,’ said Smith… He added, ‘I think relying on paper when obviously seeing a societal change isn’t reasonable. In 2006 they began an online voter registry to replace all those hard files. This is really a no brainer; I think it’s a good move.’” [WICU/WSEE TV, 08/27/15]

Shamokin News Item: Election director welcomes online voter registration.

“Northumberland County’s director of elections welcomes online registration for Pennsylvania voters, something that’s been a long time coming. ‘I think it’s wonderful,’ Alisha Herb said Thursday of the state’s launch of Internet-based registration. ‘This is going to be so much easier.’ Herb’s office received five online registrations already on Thursday, but Herb expects the volume to increase as word spreads. She is especially pleased that online registration is in place in time for next year’s presidential election.” [Shamokin News Item, 08/27/15]

LNP: Online voter registration launches in Pennsylvania; 11 new voters put it to use in Lancaster County.

“Nearly a dozen people in Lancaster County made swift use of the state’s new online voter registration system… Gov. Tom Wolf launched the system Thursday morning, making Pennsylvania the 23rd state to offer Internet-based registration… State Sen. Lloyd Smucker, a Republican representing the 13th District, has pushed a similar law in recent years. Smucker said Thursday he is pleased to see the system enacted. ‘I very much appreciate the decision by Gov. Wolf to make this a priority,’ he said. ‘Hopefully it will improve participation in our electoral process, because we’re making it a little bit easier for them to register.’” [LNP, 08/27/15]

York Dispatch: York County officials embrace new online voter registration.

“Eligible Pennsylvanians can now go online to register to vote online to register to vote, and officials in York County are embracing the new technology… Both major political parties in the county, as well as the county’s elections office, are embracing the new technology… Bob Kefauver, chairman of the York County Democratic Party, said the new technology hopefully will drive up the number of registered voters, which could, in turn, increase voter turnout at election time. ‘I definitely think it’s a victory for democracy on a whole,’ Kefauver said. Alex Shorb, head of the York County GOP, said online registration adds to various ways people can register to vote now… ‘We have to go to the people and not have them come to us,’ Shorb said. ‘Overall I like the idea of making voter registration easier.’” [York Dispatch, 08/27/15]

Al Dia: Online voter registration is now live in Pennsylvania.

“Starting today, online voter registration — in both English or Spanish — is a reality in Pennsylvania, announced Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of State Pedro Cortés. With the launch of online voter registration, the commonwealth expects to make the process more convenient, while improving accuracy and reducing costs. Online voter registration is currently available in 22 additional states. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, states that have implemented online voter registration have seen savings ranging from $0.50 to $2.34 per application.” [Al Dia, 08/27/15]

Beaver County Times: Pennsylvania online voter registration here as Oct. 5 deadline looms.

“With the deadline to register voters for November elections just about a month away, Pennsylvania is becoming the 23rd state to offer online voter registration, Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of State Pedro Cortés said Thursday… Voting rights advocates praised the move as meeting the needs of Pennsylvania residents. ‘Deploying technology to make the registration process easier and more convenient makes sense, especially when it will also save money, increase accuracy and improve the voting experience,’ Susan Carty, board president of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania… ‘For too many eligible voters, the registration process is a major barrier,’ said Barry Kauffman, executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania, in a statement. ‘Online voter registration will bring more Pennsylvanians onto the voter rolls, increasing participation and strengthening our democracy.’” [Beaver County Times, 08/27/15]

Erie Times-News: Find out why it’s now easier to vote in Pa.

“It’s now easier to register to vote in Pennsylvania. Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of State Pedro Cortés today announced that Pennsylvania is the latest state to adopt the convenient option of online registration… State Sen. Sean Wiley, of Millcreek Township, D-49th Dist., issued a statement about the online registrations. ‘I applaud the governor and Secretary Cortes for moving the commonwealth forward in respect to engaging the electorate. As Pennsylvania now goes online, the impact will be felt not only by the voter experiencing added convenience, but also the county election staff that will see more accurate information and associated cost savings,’ he said.” [Erie Times-News, 08/27/15]

FOX43: New website to make voter registration easier for Pennsylvanians.

“Governor Tom Wolf is making it a little bit easier for you to register to vote. The governor joined state officials to announce the launch of the ‘Online Voter Registration’ (OVR) website… Lawmakers say the system will positively impact counties across the state. ‘Counties are always looking for ways that they can save money, for the state to relieve some burdens,’ Senator Rob Teplitz said, ‘and this is a way for them to save money,  and to make their job of administering paperwork more easy.’” [FOX43, 08/27/15]

New Pittsburgh Courier: Voting rights advocates applaud Wolf administration for new online voter registration in PA.

“Governor Tom Wolf announced this morning that eligible Pennsylvanians can register to vote online starting today. New Voices Pittsburgh, a Reproductive Justice organization that advocates for voting rights for Black women, applauds the Wolf administration for eliminating barriers to voter registration… ‘Online voter registration is a monumental step to increase access to the Civil Right and Human Right to vote, elect public officials and participate in our American democracy,’ says La’Tasha D. Mayes, Executive Director of New Voices Pittsburgh.” [New Pittsburgh Courier, 08/27/15]

Philadelphia Business Journal: Pa. launches online voter registration.

“During the 2012 election, Pennsylvania gained infamy for its controversial voter ID law. As 2016 approaches, however, the state has launched a service that will make it easier to vote than ever before: online voter registration. On Thursday, Gov. Wolf and Secretary of State Pedro Cortés announced that PA has become the latest state to launch an online voter registration application. Hosted by the Department of State, the form is now available for use by eligible citizens at” [Philadelphia Business Journal, 08/28/15]

Philadelphia Inquirer: Pa. voters can now register online.

“Gov. Wolf announced that the state had launched a website that allows its 10 million or so eligible voters to submit a registration application online… In other states, benefits have ranged from cost savings to more accurate voter lists… many experts praised Thursday’s announcement as a long-overdue step into the 21st century. ‘You can sign up for a credit card online in a couple seconds, send money around the world in a couple seconds,’ said David Thornburgh, executive director of the Committee of Seventy, a Philadelphia-based nonpartisan watchdog group…  Thornburgh noted that many people, particularly college students, fail to update their registration when they move, in part because it must be done by hand. As many as 25 percent of voter records may be inaccurate or out of date in Philadelphia, he said. By making it easier for voters to update information, Thornburgh said, the database could become much more accurate. And that would be helpful to government entities and campaigns that rely on the lists to communicate with voters.” [Philadelphia Inquirer, 08/27/15]

Wilkes-Barre Times Leader: State launches online voter registration to increase efficiency and offer convenience.

“Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of State Pedro Cortés today announced that Pennsylvania is the latest state to launch the convenient option of registering online to vote… ‘Pennsylvania’s counties have the primary responsibility for managing voter registration and conducting our elections, and we strongly support measures such as this that facilitate and improve our citizens’ access to the polls,’ said Lancaster County Commissioner Craig Lehman, President of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania.” [Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, 08/27/15]

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