PRESS RELEASE from Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth
Nov. 3, 2008
CONTACT: Leslie Amorós
Rebecca Halton

Department of State Urges Voters to Prepare for Tuesday, Vote During Off-Peak Times to Avoid Long Lines

HARRISBURG – A record-setting 8,758,031 Pennsylvanians are registered to vote at one of the state’s more than 9,300 polling places in tomorrow’s General Election, Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro A. Cortés said today as he urged those going to the polls to prepare and vote during off-peak times to avoid long lines.

The Pennsylvania Department of State estimates that up to 80 percent of those registered to vote will cast a ballot tomorrow. With such a large turnout anticipated, Cortés said adequate preparation by voters and, when possible, going to the polls between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. and between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. will help ensure a smooth election with minimal wait.

The polls are open between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., but those who are standing in line at 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

“It is exciting to see that so many Pennsylvanians took the first step in preparing to vote by registering, but I urge them to not make it their last step,” said Cortés. “The magnitude of these numbers should emphasize – not eclipse – how important it is for voters to prepare fully for tomorrow.

“Voters should take time today or before they go to the polls tomorrow to confirm their registration and learn where their polling place is located, what kind of voting system they will use, and what they should carry with them. Voters can find this information, as well as answers to other frequently asked questions at

“Additionally, I encourage those that have some flexibility in their schedule to vote during off-peak times, or periods when fewer people typically go to vote. Lines are typically longest before people go to work in the morning and before they go home in the evening. For instance, precincts where there are 30-minute lines in the morning often have no wait at all by 10 a.m.”

The 8,758,031 registered voters for tomorrow’s general election is a new record for the state. The previous all-time high for registered Pennsylvania voters prior to a General Election was 8,366,663 in 2004. Of the current voter registration count, 4,480,691 are registered as Democrats and 3,243,391 are registered as Republicans.

There were 8,328,123 Pennsylvanians registered to vote in the state’s primary election on April 22.

In preparation for the 2008 primary and general elections, the department re-launched its award-winning voter preparedness Web site,, in April. In addition to visiting, Pennsylvanians may call the department’s toll-free hotline, at 1-877-VOTESPA (868-3772) for answers to their questions.

“Whether you are a first-time voter, a seasoned voter, or a voter with specific needs or questions, and our toll-free hotline will help to ensure you know where to go, what to carry, and what to do in order to be prepared,” said Cortés.

Cortés added that visiting will also help correct myths and misinformation about the voting process, including one of the most common election-related myths that a driver’s license is the only approved form of identification for first-time voters.

“State law requires that Pennsylvanians who are voting for the first time – or for the first time in a new precinct – must present an approved form of photo or non-photo identification,” Cortés said. “The variety of approved forms of ID for first-time voters includes, but is not limited to, a Pennsylvania driver’s license.”

Other forms of approved identification include student or government-issued identification, as well as firearm permits and current bank statements or utility bills. A complete list is available at

Tomorrow’s election will be the twelfth Cortés has overseen as the commonwealth’s chief election official.

More information about the Pennsylvania Department of State is available at For complete voter registration statistics, click on the voter registration statistics link in the “Look What’s Hot” box on the right-hand side of the homepage; for unofficial, real-time election returns, click on the elections returns graphic on the right-hand side of the homepage.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Additional final voter registration statistics follow that reflect the period between Jan. 1 and Nov. 3, 2008.

* 8,758,031 total registered voters:
• 4,480,691 registered as Democrats
• 3,243,391 registered as Republicans

NOTE: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Pennsylvania's 2007 voting age population is 9,646,036.

* 712,925 approved new voter applications were processed since January 2008:

• 427,479 registered as Democrats
• 144,118 registered as Republicans

By age, the largest group of registered voters is between 45 and 54 years old: (20 percent, or 1,733,855).

By age, the smallest groups of registered voters are between 65 and 74 years old, and 75+ years old, each with 10 percent.

NOTE: The department does not have statistical breakdowns by race, gender or religious affiliation. Pennsylvania's current voter registration form does not require that an applicant provide that information.