After less than two full weeks of operation, about 7,500 Pennsylvania residents have registered to vote using a new online system. Not all that bad considering it’s an odd-numbered year.
“This is a municipal election year, so our expectation was rather low,” said Marian Schneider, Deputy Secretary for Elections and Administration at Pennsylvania’s Department of State. “We are very pleased with the number of people who have embraced it.”
The online system, available at register.votespa.com, requires the same information collected using a traditional paper registration. Anyone looking to vote in this November’s election must register using either method by October 5.
“Paper registrations will still be available, and anyone who wants to use a paper registration can still do so. But over time, we think that we will be using fewer of those, and that will save the printing cost,” said Schneider.
State officials say the online system also saves money by eliminating the need for human data entry. Additionally, it reduces the chance for mistakes due to factors including poor handwriting.
Applicants who already have a Pennsylvania driver’s license or PennDOT ID card can complete their registration online, while those without those forms of identification will need to submit an additional form containing their signature.
Online registration is available in both English and Spanish. Voters can also use the system to update an address.
The Commonwealth is the 23rd state to offer online registration. “Get out the vote” efforts are likely to use tablets and other electronic devices to register more voters online, especially in the lead up to the 2016 elections.
“I think that increasing turnout is dependent on a variety of factors, but certainly, thefirst step in turning out is getting registered,” said Schneider.