Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced a major milestone: more than 1 million Pennsylvanians have used his administration’s online voter registration (OVR) site, register.votespa.com. The system, launched in August 2015 by Governor Wolf, has made it easier and more secure for citizens to register to vote and update their existing registrations. The 1 millionth user was from Delaware County.
“Pennsylvania’s constitution guarantees every eligible citizen the right to participate in a free and equal election and every public servant should be focused on increasing citizen participation,” Governor Wolf said. “I am proud of those in my administration who have helped more than a million people more easily participate in the process. The success of online voter registration is a testament to citizens’ desire for an election system that is more secure, easier to navigate and better ensures their votes really count.”
The Department of State oversaw the development, launch, and maintenance of the OVR system and has worked in other areas to encourage greater participation and convenience for voters.
“Pennsylvanians have embraced OVR in large numbers since the day it was launched,” Torres said. “In the first week, we logged 5,000 users. With the 2016 presidential election cycle, the number reached half a million.”
State and county election officials have found that electronic applications have improved accuracy, increased the integrity of the voting rolls, reduced time-consuming data entry and yielded considerable cost savings.
Governor Wolf has long supported further voting reforms that would encourage participation and used this milestone to urge passage of key voting improvements, including especially:
- Simplifying Voter Registration: Governor Wolf has long supported reforms that would break down barriers to voter registration, including instituting automatic voter registration, and passing House Bill 101, which would allow citizens to register on election day at their polling place.
- Modernizing Absentee Ballots: Governor Wolf believes the current absentee ballot system is archaic and supports “no excuse” absentee ballots, where citizens can use an absentee ballot if it is most convenient for them to do so.
- Ending Gerrymandering: Governor Wolf continues to support legislation to reform the redistricting process in Pennsylvania and end partisan gerrymandering, including Senate Bill 22 and House Bill 722.
The OVR system, available in English and Spanish, is more secure because electronic applications are submitted directly to the appropriate county voter registration office for processing. In contrast, traditional paper applications containing personal information may pass through several hands before reaching the correct destination. The latest protocols in data security were built into the system and are constantly monitored and updated.
Because the OVR site can communicate with PennDOT’s system, if an applicant has a driver’s license or PennDOT ID card, the signature on file with PennDOT can immediately be linked to the voter record. Users without a PennDOT record may upload a digital signature directly to the OVR system, or submit their signature by mail to complete the process.
In order to vote in the May 15 primary, Pennsylvanians can update their registration or register for the first time until April 16 at register.votespa.com.