Department of State Encourages Unregistered But Eligible Voters to Participate in the Electoral Process
Harrisburg, PA – Secretary of State Pedro A. Cortés today announced that his office will begin contacting by mail Pennsylvanians who are eligible to vote but are not yet registered to encourage their participation in the electoral process. The Department will be encouraging those unregistered citizens to apply for voter registration before the October 11 deadline.
“At the Department of State, we are firmly committed to seeing that all eligible Pennsylvanians have a meaningful opportunity to participate in our democracy,” said Secretary of State Pedro A. Cortés. “This mailing will serve as a reminder that the deadline is quickly approaching.”
The mailing is one element of Pennsylvania’s membership in the non-partisan, national record-matching consortium Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), whose mission is to assist states in improving the accuracy of America’s voter rolls and increase access to voter registration for all eligible citizens.
Founded in 2012, ERIC’s data-matching services were developed with financial assistance from the Pew Charitable Trusts. ERIC is a non-profit corporation completely owned, governed and managed by state elections officials.
The mailing is a condition of membership in ERIC, whose other 20 member jurisdictions are: Alaska, Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
The mailing list was compiled by comparing statewide voter registration records with a PennDOT list of licensed drivers. At the request of the Department of State, PennDOT removed the names of individuals who are not eligible to vote, such as non-citizens, recently deceased drivers, and drivers who will not be 18 by Election Day.
Approximately 2 million eligible Pennsylvanians are not registered to vote, according to U.S. Census Bureau and Department of State statistics.
The postcards will provide recipients with information on the state’s Online Voter Registration site which was launched in August 2015.
In January, Pennsylvania became the 15th jurisdiction to join the ERIC consortium. Since then, another six states have signed on.
“ERIC helps member states and counties save money because more accurate voter rolls will result in less returned mail, fewer provisional ballots on Election Day and shorter lines at polling places,” said Marian K. Schneider, Deputy Secretary for Elections and Administration.
Because member states submit data to ERIC every 60 days, the consortium’s data is more up to date than other national data sets.
All data is securely transferred and personal identifying information is anonymized before and after it is submitted to the ERIC data center. ERIC compares these records among states and with data from the U.S. Postal Service and Social Security Administration.
Unlike any current matching programs, ERIC compares multiple records – and multiple fields within each record – simultaneously, as well as accounting for name variations and transposed numbers. Also, matching techniques are more sophisticated across multiple databases so ERIC reports are more reliable and have fewer errors.
Anyone with questions about the mailing may call the Department of State at 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772).