As the deadline for voters to register for the Nov. 6 presidential election approaches, Democrats outnumber Republicans in Pennsylvania. Despite massive voter education drives as advocacy groups rushed to help voters register and get a state ID many assumed would be needed to cast their ballot, the number of people registered to vote has fallen.
Tuesday Oct. 9 is the last day potential voters can register to participate in the upcoming election.
According to state Department of State statistics, there are 8.4 million registered voters across the state, as of Oct. 1. Philadelphia boasts more than any other county with more than 1 million voters from both parties hailing from the city.
Statewide, there are 4.2 million Democrats, 3.1 million Republicans, 589,000 independents and 485,000 in all other parties. In Philadelphia, those numbers are: roughly 821,000 Democrats, 130,000 Republicans, 79,000 independents and 22,000 others.
Though those figures will change slightly as state officials add the last eight days of registration figures to their data, registration for all parties appears far lower than in 2008.
In 2008, there were 8.8 million registered voters statewide — 4.5 million Democrats, 3.2 million Republicans and 1 million others. Those respective figures for Philadelphia were 1.1 million total, 880,000 Democrats, 147,000 Republicans and 99,000 others.
While overall the overall number of registered voters has declined, state statistics show that since the last presidential election, about 15,000 Philadelphians have changed their registration to join the Democratic Party. About 8,759 Republicans in Philadelphia have switched their party allegiance to the Democratic Party, along with 7,334 independents who joined the city’s dominant political party. By comparison, more than 10,000 Philadelphia voters have defected from the Democratic Party. According to the department, 10,024 Democrats have become Republican, along with 1,637 independents, who have also joined the GOP.
Those figures run counter to the statewide trend which showed more people switched to the Republican party than choose to become Democrats.
For the same period, 157,291 people switched registration to become Republicans — 114,549 Democrats made the change. As did 42,742 from other parties. For the Democratic Party, 68,916 Republicans decided to leave the GOP as did 46,453 from other parties.
In this year’s general election, poll workers across the state are required to ask voters to show photo identification, but voters will be allowed to cast ballots even if they do not have it after a ruling last week by Commonwealth Court.
A law requiring voters to have specific types of photo ID and requiring voters without acceptable IDs to cast provisional ballots, was enacted by Republicans who control the Legislature earlier this year without a single “yes” vote from any Democratic lawmaker.
But, Judge Robert Simpson halted parts of the law on grounds that some voters could be disenfranchised because the state had not done enough to make it possible for all voters to easily get IDs before the election.
Under a separate law that remains in effect, people voting in a polling place for the first time are required to show identification. Photo IDs, such as a Pennsylvania driver’s license are acceptable but not required. Voters can satisfy the requirement with nonphoto forms of identification, including a paycheck, a bank statement or a firearm permit.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.