The Lead

Wolf signs executive order expanding access to voter registration information

By: - September 7, 2022 11:46 am

With the deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 8 general election weeks away, Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday signed an executive order expanding access to voter registration information.

The order designates seven state agencies and programs as “Voter Registration Distribution Agencies,” that will be required to provide voter registration materials and information to state residents.

They are:

  • The Department of State (DOS) at public Bureau of Elections, Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, and Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations locations
  • The Department of Agriculture at events at the Farm Show Complex
  • The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources at 121 state park office locations
  • The Department of Corrections in connection with Bureau of Community Corrections services
  • The Department of Education at library locations
  • The Labor and Industry programs at CareerLink offices
  • The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs at state veterans homes  

“We are proud of the free and fair elections held here in the Commonwealth, and that would not be possible without first providing convenient, accessible opportunities for every eligible citizen to register to vote,” Wolf said in a statement his office issued Wednesday. “That’s why I am designating seven additional state agencies to provide their clients with materials and information on voter registration. This work will support the dedicated county officials and thousands of local poll workers who do their part every election to ensure that anyone who wants to exercise their precious right to vote can do so.”

The new order “builds on the requirements of the federal National Voter Registration Act of 1993 which mandates that certain state agencies are required to provide voter registration opportunity to clients with whom they interact.” the administration said Wednesday.

Under the new order, the impacted state agencies are required to provide access to:

  • An official voter registration mail application that is not specific to any county election office
  • An accompanying non-postage-paid envelope and instructions explaining where the completed voter registration application should be sent
  • They also are required to “display nonpartisan signs or posters in highly visible areas to indicate that official voter registration materials are available on-site,” the administration said.
  • The executive order further declares September “Voter Registration Month” statewide.

State law currently provides for four ways to register to vote — online, by U.S. mail, in-person, or at a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation photo or driver’s license center.

To register online, visit vote.pa.gov, where you’ll be asked to complete a registration application form. Before you begin, make sure to have your driver’s license or PennDOT ID card on hand. You may upload a signature or print and sign the form if you don’t have one.

What to know so you’re registered, ready to vote in the Nov. 8 election

The Pennsylvania Voter Registration Application can be downloaded online to register by mail. Print the form, fill it out, sign it, and send it to your county voter registration office.

Voter registration can also be completed in person at your county voter registration office or some government agencies, such as a PennDOT Photo License and Driver’s License Center. 

The voter application can also be completed at many state government offices, including: 

  • State offices that provide public assistance and services to people with disabilities 
  • Armed forces recruitment centers 
  • County Clerk of Orphans’ Court offices, including each Marriage License Bureau 
  • Area agencies on aging 
  • Centers for independent living 
  • County mental health offices 
  • Student disability services offices of the State System of Higher Education 
  • Offices of special education ADA complementary para-transit offices 
  • Any agency using the Compass application 

Once you submit your application, your local voter registration office will review and process the request.

“With 1.7 million Pennsylvanians who are eligible to vote but are not yet registered, it will be no small task to reach those individuals before the November election,” acting Secretary of State Leigh M. Chapman said in a statement. “I thank this administration for recognizing that by collaborating with our state and federal partners to make that effort possible.”

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John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press.

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