March 20th, 2008
03:20 PM ET
12 years ago

Voter registration surges ahead of Pennsylvania deadline

(CNN) - With just days until the voter registration deadline arrives in Pennsylvania, voters are frantically registering and changing their party affiliations in order to vote in the state’s closed Democratic primary.

Pennsylvania, with 158 “pledged” delegates at stake, offers the largest bounty remaining to both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. It is expected to play a large role in deciding the Democratic party’s presidential nominee.

Barack Obama’s campaign has made voter registration their top priority in Pennsylvania for the past several weeks, sending teams of volunteers from across the country to register new Democrats in the commonwealth in advance of the March 24 deadline. “We need your help registering voters this weekend!” read a message on Barack Obama’s Web site, urging volunteers to spend the weekend convincing unregistered voters, Republicans and Independents to become newly-minted Democrats.

Between February 11 and March 17, Philadelphia County saw a 1.7 percent increase in Democratic Party registrations while all other parties – including the Republican Party – saw a 1.3 percent decrease in party registrations, according to Robert Lee, Voter Registration Administrator for Philadelphia County.

Since 2004, Democratic registration has increased by roughly 5 percent in the county - while Republican registration has decreased by more than 12 percent.

Patti Allen of the Montgomery County’s voter registration office described the situation in her county as “wild.” In the county, which includes many affluent suburbs of Philadelphia, 3,432 voters have changed their registration to the Democratic Party, since March 1, while just 149 voters have switched their affiliation to the Republican Party. The county has seen 1,243 new Democratic party registrations and 402 Republican party registrations since March 1. The county, despite it’s current wave of Democratic party registrations – more than 3-to-1 over Republican registrations – is still home to more Republicans than Democrats.

The Pennsylvania Department of State says that since January, more than 68,000 registered voters changed their party affiliation to either the Democratic or Republican party, and those who switched to the Democratic party out-number those who switched to the Republican party by a greater than 3-to-1 margin.

 –CNN's Jeff Simon

Filed under: Pennsylvania
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. stan

    I sure hope they've been listening to what's going on and are clammering to vote for Hillary!

    March 20, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  2. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    I think it may be more likely that thousands of Democrats and Republicans–will be rushing to become independants.

    I don't now if we need a third party–but it sure looks like the other two have really messed things up from where I stand–so it surely wouldn't hurt!!!

    March 20, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  3. AnyoneButARepublican

    Republicans should be banned from entering the Whitehouse for at least 20 years until the debt from the war in Iraq is payed back in full.

    March 20, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  4. James Mpofu

    I think this surge is fuelled by the excitement surrounding the candidates. Hillary might win PA, but she needs to be wary of the effort from the Obama campaign in the last few weeks to register voters....this could cut into the Clinton lead quite significantly.

    March 20, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  5. Madison , Mo

    As Obama goes up as Hillary goes negative. She will come very soon with something else to try to destroy the party.She might be mad now because she did not get votes from Florida and Michigan.

    March 20, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  6. California Independent

    Obama is not only using the internet and radio pieces, this time he's actually running a commercial! I'm sorry but it is funny. Nice primary strategy, but for the GE? Ha! Ha!

    March 20, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  7. Gail

    Good, Obama can help them get registered, so they can vote for Hillary.

    March 20, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |





    March 20, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  9. Black Republican in New York

    If Hillary Clinton beats Barack Obama, it won't be because of Pennsylvania, but because of arm-twisting, kitchen sinks, and promises to return 'favors' if superdelegates shoo her in over Obama.

    But this will also destroy the party and chase young people who are inspired by Obama's charm.

    March 20, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  10. CHERYL



    March 20, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  11. Pennsylvania for Obama

    . . .That can only mean one thing. OBAMA IS ON THE PROWL.

    YES WE CAN!!!!!

    March 20, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  12. DrFill

    I'm goin' to Phila Saturday!



    March 20, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  13. Susan

    Hillary could you tell the truth for one whole day? Your lies about your record have been fully revealed in your White House papers. You supported NAFTA, you did nothing to help the peace process in Northern Ireland and you bombed health care. Your experience claims don't amount to spit. Not only aren't you ready to answer the phone at 3 couldn't find it and then would lie about where you put it.

    March 20, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  14. Ardnuas

    This is GREAT for America!!!!!

    March 20, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  15. Al, Sacramento Ca

    I guess there are some smart Republicans in the U.S. they live in PA. They just need to vote Dem. in Novemeber and they can have my full respect.

    March 20, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  16. Dave ND

    I'd say that many Republican are registering as Democrats to meddle in this primary too. They can do so and still vote for who they please in November.

    Clinton will win Pennsylvania big time, but not for the reason she thinks.

    March 20, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  17. Медведев

    Now isn't this far more politically productive than whining and crying in Michigan and Florida about a re-vote, and blaming Obama for something he clearly had nothing to do with? Keep going Obama, you are gonna blindside Hillary in Pennsyvania!

    March 20, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  18. BJ in PA

    Here in Northeast PA, there seems to be a number of Republicans taking a cue from Rush Limbaugh. They're actually changing their party affiliation to Democrat in order to vote for Hillary Clinton because they believe that she will be easier to beat. I never thought that it would actually happen, but it is.

    March 20, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  19. Jermaine

    It shows that Hillary will win the State by less than 10 points. It is a fact she will net no delegates over OBAMA

    March 20, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  20. grant

    The penn primary will not be valid. Much of clinton's margin of victory will be from republicans trying to take out obama because they would rather run against clinton. it won't be legit. The super delegates need to realize this is going on right now in a big way.

    March 20, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  21. Willy

    Hillary Clinto will win PA. but McCain wins the White House.

    March 20, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  22. Donna

    To Stan
    I think you meant clamoring and not clammering for HRC. It doesn't really matter though because Barack is going to rock the vote in PA. I think it's going to be a lot closer than you think.

    March 20, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  23. La Raza

    Hillary can have all of the remaining states and it still won't matter delegate-wise. Obama still comes out the winner.

    March 20, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  24. Solidarity

    Please...PLEASE Pennsylvania:
    Show the world that you know good from evil!
    Every AA, every Jew,every white man and white woman of concience, every Latino, every Irishman, every Pole, every Italian, every Catholic, every Muslim...EVERYBODY who understands and knows what has been done to Obama with this Rev. Wright crap...Find a friend explain to them what has happened and what it really means...walk in lockstep to the Primary and vote for Obama!
    Show the Clintons that he who lives by the sword shall die by that same sword...racism cannot be hidden under the cloak of feminism!

    March 20, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  25. Charles, PA

    This is Clinton country here. We are too smart to vote for Obama after hearing about him listening to his preacher every sunday speak anti white rhetoric.

    We can focus on racial issues all we want but not in the run for the presidency.

    If people vote for them they will essentially be paying for 7 dollar a gallon gas 4 years from now because mark my words – Mc Cain will beat him.

    I wont vote him now and I wont vote for him then. Hillary has this smart white MANs vote from PA!

    March 20, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
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