If you’re not registered to vote, today is the last day you can register in the Commonwealth and cast your ballot in next month’s election.
This year, it’s a lot easier to make that deadline now that Pennsylvania has online voter registration (OVR), too.
“As elsewhere, Pennsylvanians have grown accustomed to doing business online, whether it is shopping, banking, or filing their tax returns,” explained Secretary of State Pedro Cortés. “As a natural extension, they want the convenience of registration to vote using their own computer or mobile device. Online voter registration makes the process more accessible and accurate.”
State Sen. Vincent Hughes, a Democrat representing Philly in Harrisburg, encouraged citizens to sign up today. Tomorrow, he pointed out, will be too late – at least if you want to vote in next month’s mayor’s race.
“Today is an important deadline for those wishing to vote in the 2015 election,” Hughes says. “People who want to participate in our democracy should visit the website VotesPA.com and get registered.” Hughes adds that this is “the first election in Pennsylvania where online registration is available to the citizenry.”
He insisted that OVR is “a great example of how we can save taxpayer money, improve government efficiency, and make it easier for people to participate in our democracy.”
OVR isn’t without a small degree of controversy, with conservatives in the state legislature voicing concerns earlier this year about the program. Citing the familiar refrain of voter fraud, Republican legislators also questioned whether Gov. Wolf, a Democrat, had the authority to enact the program.
Wolf insisted he had the authority, and fellow Democrats argued that GOP concerns about voter fraud were overblown.
The facts seem to be on the Democrats’ side: In one study looking at over one billion votes cast since 2000, researchers with the Brennan Center for Justice found only 31 credible instances of voter fraud.
That number represents not even one one-thousandth of a percent of ballots cast.
Wolf’s office adds that citizens wishing to register online who don’t have a driver’s license of PennDOT I.D. card “will be able to print, sign, and mail the completed online application to their county voter registration office.” The state offers online voter registration forms in English and Spanish, too, at VotesPA.com.