With the deadline to register to vote for the May 21 municipal primary fast approaching on April 22, Acting Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar is reminding Pennsylvanians the Online Voter Registration (OVR) is the quickest and easiest way to register.

“Voting makes our democracy work. And when you vote in municipal elections you are helping to make the decisions that will most affect your local community,” Boockvar said.  “Now, with OVR, registering to vote or updating your registration is more convenient than ever.”

On May 21, voters who are registered as Republican or Democrat will choose their parties’ nominees for judicial and local government positions.

In addition, all registered voters in the following four districts, regardless of party affiliation, will be voting in special elections to fill vacancies:

12th Congressional District (in Bradford, Centre, Clinton, Juniata, Lycoming, Mifflin, Northumberland, Perry, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union and Wyoming counties)  11th House District (in Butler County) 33rd Senatorial District (Adams, Cumberland, Franklin and York counties) and  41st Senatorial District (Armstrong, Butler, Indiana and Westmoreland counties)

Boockvar encouraged eligible citizens to use the state’s OVR site, whether they are registering for the first time or updating an existing registration with a change of name, address or party affiliation.

“More than 1.3 million Pennsylvanians have registered to vote or updated an existing registration through OVR.  It’s more secure and accurate than a traditional paper form,” Boockvar said. “The OVR system reduces the chance of error by ensuring that applications are complete when submitted.”

Even applicants who do not have a driver’s license or PennDOT ID card may complete their registration online, thanks to a feature that allows users to easily upload a digital copy of their signature.

Individuals wishing to register to vote in the May 21 primary must be:

A citizen of the United States for at least one month before the primary. A resident of Pennsylvania and of the election district in which the individual plans 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.

Eligible voters also 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 April 22. 

Pennsylvania law requires a closed primary, meaning only voters registered as Democrats or Republicans will select nominees to represent their party in the general election on November 5.

The Department of State’s website, votesPA.com, available in English or Spanish, offersprintable 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 votesPA.com.