There’s just one more day until the state’s voter registration deadline. The Pennsylvania Department of State estimates that there are nearly 2.3 million residents who are eligible to vote, but haven’t registered.
We asked the Department of State for data on where these Pennsylvanians are, by county. The DoS shared with us the numbers they use for their own mailers to encourage registration. Mailers were sent out in two waves, starting last month.
Department of State press secretary Wanda Murren says it’s too early to tell if their efforts made a serious dent in the numbers. “We’ll have a much better idea when the voter registration figures are certified,” she said in an email. “That isn’t likely to happen until two or three weeks after the deadline because the counties will still be processing the great number of applications that are received in the final days.”
Experts have cited various factors to explain low voter turnout, from slow-to-modernize voter registration systems, to distrust in government, to state policies that bar felons from the polls. Pennsylvania has online voter registration, and as Governor Tom Wolf reminded us, it’s pretty easy.
Unregistered voters in PA, by county
Unsurprisingly, Philly and Allegheny counties had the highest counts of unregistered voters by far. They were followed by Montgomery, Lancaster and Bucks.
Percentage of unregistered voters out of eligible voters overall
We ran the numbers again, this time against Census data for county voting age population, or every citizen over the age of 18. Nearly a fifth of eligible Allegheny County residents aren’t participating in the electorate. Rural counties had the heaviest contingents, the leaders being Pike, Monroe, Fayette, McKean and Lebanon counties.
(We’ll update this post with more insights and graphics as we continue to crunch the data.)