As usual, last-minute registrations stream into Pa. election offices

    A man smiles while holding a sign that says,

    In this file photo, a man in the audience cheers as he holds up a sign during a voter registration event at West Philadelphia High School. (Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo)

    When Dauphin County voter registration director Jerry Feaser got to work Tuesday morning, more than 2,000 online voter applications waiting to be processed.

    Feaser has also seen several hundred paper registrations in the last few days, and by mid-Tuesday dozens had visited the office in person to register or change information.

    All these people — and more across Pennsylvania — were rushing in paperwork to meet the deadline deadline for registering to vote in next month’s election.

    Hundreds of those last-minute registrations come from voting advocacy organizations. Feaser said the volume can be difficult to handle.

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    At noon on the last day of voter registration, Andrew Reinel, a volunteer with voting outreach group CASA, was in the Dauphin County elections office with a stack of more than 100 applications.

    His organization works to register Latinos and other immigrant citizens to vote, and he said applications have been pouring in — mostly from non-native Americans.

    “We register anyone and everyone,” he said. “But we realize there’s an importance, there’s maybe a cultural gap.”

    Feaser said applications that come through organizations such as CASA pose some of the trickiest problems in the final days of registration.

    Reinel, for instance, brought in a few applications that couldn’t be processed.

    “When they bring in an incomplete application, we can’t finalize that voter registration,” Feaser said. “And if they wait until today, the last day, they literally have hours to get us the completed information. I find that somewhat frustrating, because it’s disenfranchising people.”

    Reinel ultimately was able to get back to the office with the necessary information in time. But Feaser said not everyone does.

    “People waiting to the last minute is always so nerve wracking because we want to register everybody,” he said. “Everybody that’s interested in having a voice in this presidential election, we want them on the rolls. But we can’t put them on the rolls if we have incomplete information.”

    According to the Pennsylvania Department of State, about 61,000 more voters are registered in the commonwealth this year than in 2012.

    Delaware residents have until Saturday to register. The New Jersey deadline is Oct. 18.

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