LOST AND LATE IN 2016: Why thousands of Pennsylvanians weren’t able to cast a ballot at their poll on Election Day
May 23, 2017: Members of the Keystone Votes coalition have released a report which finds that at least 26,000 Pennsylvania voters were likely disenfranchised in 2016. The high volume of paper voter registration applications in presidential years is causing delays in county election offices. These delays can prevent voters from having a normal voting experience. It is also possible that counties sometimes lose voter registration applications.
In most of the state's 67 counties, the occurrence of these problems were at low rates, but systemic. One county stands apart from the rest however. In Philadelphia, the number of applications approved too late was twice the statewide average. And it is possible that between 2 out of every 10 voter registration applications submitted in Philadelphia were lost. Local leaders need to investigate further.
The Pennsylvania General Assembly—with the assistance of the Pennsylvania Department of State, Governor Wolf, elected county leaders, the state’s election directors, and advocates—must further investigate the statewide problems named in the report, prioritize the modernization of Pennsylvania’s elections, and guarantee that all voters have access to the ballot box.