Allegheny County elections offices field voter deluge
Four days from a key registration deadline, county elections offices are scrambling to process a deluge of last-minute voter applications.
Officials said the late-season surge is normal for a presidential election, when the voter rolls can swell by several percentage points. Still, it appeared unlikely Thursday that statewide registrations would reach the 8.76 million voters recorded in fall 2008.
The deadline to register to vote on Nov. 6 or to update registration is Tuesday.
“I'm sure there will be an increase between the primary and the general” election, said Mark Wolosik, the elections director for Allegheny County.
But given registration trends so far, “I'd be surprised” to see the number of voters who appeared on the rolls four years ago, Wolosik said. The county listed 956,114 for that election cycle.
The tally slipped to 888,686 by the spring primary, down 7 percent. Election directors in several counties said numbers are rebounding now, buoyed by traditional interest in the presidential election.
A recent statewide voter count, posted by the Pennsylvania Department of State, showed nearly 8.38 million voters, 4.5 percent fewer than in November 2008. An outage this week of a key state registration database hobbled any detailed breakdown of the numbers.
In Westmoreland County, elections director Jim Montini said workers have observed registration gains among Democrats and Republicans. He has not noticed either side overwhelming the other in new registration numbers, he said.
“It's typical,” Montini said.
Officials in Beaver, Butler and Washington counties reported they, too, are fielding upticks normal for a presidential election year.
Political observers pointed to a drop-off in overall voter enthusiasm to explain the apparent dips from 2008.
“In 2008, neither side had an incumbent running. That generated a lot of interest on both sides,” said Pat Dunham, chairwoman for the political science department at Duquesne University. “There were massive voter registration efforts on both sides, though by most accounts Democrats were more successful.”
This time around, she said, “we don't have the kind of wide-open contest.”
And incumbent President Obama “has disappointed some of his supporters, so there's not as much enthusiasm there.”
Adam Smeltz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers running backs Bell, Blount will face drug charges
- Starkey: Stupid Steelers
- It’s only exhibition, but these Steelers could solidify roster spots vs. Eagles
- 2 dead in New Kensington shooting; woman says male victim her son
- Pitt sophomore Coles leaves football team
- GOP: Wolf ‘Fresh Start’ campaign violates Pennsylvania law
- Commitment by Steelers’ Gilbert pays off
- DEP to spend $1.45M to snuff coal fire posing threat near Pittsburgh airport
- Braves’ error, Sanchez’s sacrifice fly in 9th help Pirates snap long skid
- Israeli airstrike kills 3 senior Hamas leaders
- Man admits preying on Lower Burrell neighbor, taking more than $100K in money, goods