VRM in the States: Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania currently has electronic registration at DMVs, online voter registration, and electronic pollbooks.

April 13, 2018

Advances in Voter Registration Modernization

  • Electronic Voter Registration: Pennsylvania launched electronic voter registration at Department of Transportation (DOT) offices in 1995, and fully eliminated the use of paper for DOT-based voter registration in 2005. Registrants type in their information electronically and provide their signature on an electronic pad. Several times each week, DOT employees electronically transmit the applications to election officials.
  • Online Voter Registration: Pennsylvania launched online voter registration through the Secretary of State’s office in 2015. Eligible citizens can use the system to register to vote or update their registration information even if they do not have a state driver’s license or non-driver ID. New registrants without a state ID can sign the registration by uploading an image of their signature.
  • Electronic Pollbooks: Pennsylvania authorizes the use of e-pollbooks at the county level.

Gains from Voter Registration Modernization in Pennsylvania

The steps Pennsylvania has taken thus far have yielded increases in voter registration and financial benefits for the state. For example:  

  • During a September 2015 interview with Brennan Center staff, Pennsylvania election officials reported reductions in staff time spent processing registration forms due to electronic and online voter registration.
  • Pennsylvania implemented online registration at a cost of approximately $200,000.
  • After paper was fully eliminated from DOT-based voter registration in 2005, registration rates at the DOT were roughly four times pre-2005 rates.
  • Between the 2015 launch of online voter registration and the November 2016 election, the state received 360,392 new voter registration applications through its online portal.