In the midst of a closely watched gubernatorial race that could impact everything from jobs to education, fewer Pennsylvania residents are registering to vote than in comparable years.
Nearly 62,700 people registered to vote between mid-November last year, following the general election, and the April 21 deadline to vote in this year’s primary, according to data provided by Pennsylvania’s State Department.
That’s a decrease in registrations of nearly 18 percent compared with the same time period between 2009 and 2010, the last time there was a governor’s election.
In Philadelphia, 7,843 residents registered to vote between the same months in 2013 and 2014, which is a 12 percent drop in sign-ups compared with four years prior.
Zack Stalberg, president of the elections watchdog Committee of Seventy, said fewer people may be registering to vote because they are growing ever more disgusted with politicians.
“My best guess is with gridlock in Washington and scandal at the state level,” he said, “that people are just shying away from the electoral process.”
Stalberg also said there may have been more registrations in 2010 because of a hotly contested primary race for U.S. Senate between Democrats Arlen Specter and Joe Sestak. Pennsylvania should do more to encourage people to head to the polls, such as allowing all residents to vote by mail, Stalberg suggested.