HARRISBURG, Pa., March 22, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Secretary of State Pedro A. Cortés today reminded Pennsylvanians that Monday, March 28, is the deadline to register to vote in the April primary election.
"Voting is one of the most fundamental rights we have as citizens," Cortés said. "Over the history of this nation, many people have made extraordinary sacrifices to protect that right for us. We honor them every time we go to the polls and cast our ballot."
On April 26, primary voters who are registered as Republican or Democrat will choose the two parties' nominees for president, as well as for the statewide offices of Attorney General, Auditor General and Treasurer. Additionally, voters will choose party nominees for one U.S. Senate seat and all of Pennsylvania's 18 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Also on the party ballots will be all state House seats in the General Assembly and state Senate seats with odd-numbered districts.
Pennsylvania law requires a closed primary, meaning only voters registered as Democrats or Republicans will select nominees to represent their party in the November 8 general election. However, all registered voters, including those registered with a minor political party or no affiliation, may vote on any proposed amendments to the Pennsylvania Constitution that will be on the primary ballot.
Cortés also reminded eligible citizens that the state's online voter registration (OVR) site makes registering or updating an existing registration easier than ever before. A new signature upload feature means all users can complete the electronic application process online.
Previously, voters who did not have a record at PennDOT or whose record failed to match had the option of printing their pre-populated applications, signing and sending to the county or asking DOS to send them a signature form. Voters who needed to send in their signature are strongly urged to do so by the March 28 deadline. Voters with missing signatures are not registered until they have submitted their signature and will be unable to vote in the primary.
Voters may check their application status on the DOS website, using the same information they entered on the application. If the voter still has questions after using the online tool or they have not received a registration card within 14 days, they should contact their county elections office.
With the new signature upload feature, however, those voters could resubmit their application, upload a signature, and their application would be submitted electronically. This would allow the county to receive their application more quickly before the deadline.
Individuals wishing to register to vote in the April 26 primary must be:
- A citizen of the United States for at least one month before the primary.
- A resident of Pennsylvania and the election district in which the individual desires to register and vote for at least 30 days before the primary.
- At least 18 years of age on or before the date of the primary.
In addition to using the OVR site, eligible voters 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 drivers 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.
Applications for new registration, change of address or change in party affiliation must be postmarked or received in county voter registration offices by March 28.
The Department of State's website www.VotesPA.com, available in English or 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 www.VotesPA.com.
MEDIA CONTACT: Wanda Murren (717) 783-1621
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of State