Secretary of State reminds Pennsylvanians that voter registration deadline is one week away
HARRISBURG, Pa.– Secretary of State Pedro A. Cortés today reminded Pennsylvanians they have one week left to register to vote in the November election. He encouraged citizens to take advantage of new registration options that are available.
Eligible citizens have until Tuesday, October 11, to apply for a new voter registration or make changes to their existing registration.
“Voting is one of our most fundamental rights,” Secretary Cortés said. “That’s why Governor Wolf and the Department of State have made it a priority to implement innovations that make registration more convenient, secure and accessible.”
The state’s online voter registration (OVR) application can be found at register.votesPA.com. In addition to applying for a new registration, the OVR system can also be used to make updates to an existing voter record, such as a change of name, address or party affiliation. Since the OVR launch in August 2015, more than 665,000 eligible Pennsylvanians have used the site.
New this year is 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.
Voters planning to vote by absentee ballot are advised to pay close attention to important deadlines. Although the deadline to request an absentee ballot is Tuesday, November 1, the voted ballots must be received in the county election office by 5 p.m. on Friday, November 4.
Due to the 3-day time frame and cutbacks in service by the U.S. Postal Service, voters are strongly urged to mail their absentee ballot request no later than October 21, two weeks before the voted ballot must be received by the county office.
Voters may deliver their voted absentee ballots in person to county election offices or mail them if there is adequate time for delivery. A postmark is not sufficient for the ballot to be counted.
Pennsylvania voters will elect the U.S. President and Vice President, one U.S. Senator and 18 U.S. House members, as well as the statewide offices of attorney general, auditor general and treasurer. Odd-numbered state Senate districts and all state House seats will also be on the ballot.
Individuals wishing to register to vote in the November 8 general election must be:
n A citizen of the United States for at least one month before the election.
n A resident of Pennsylvania and the election district in which the individual desires to register and vote for at least 30 days before the election.
n At least 18 years of age on or before the date of the election.
Eligible voters also 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 driver’s 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.
Applicants using the OVR system must complete and submit their application by 11:59 p.m. on October 11. Traditional paper application forms must be received in county voter registration offices or postmarked by October 11.
Electors who do not receive confirmation of their application within 14 days of submission should contact the voter registration office in their county.
The Department of State’s website votespa.com, available in English and 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 VotesPA.com.