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. Ray OH

    BJ in PA: I think you have it backwards: the GOP has set its sights on Barack Obama. They realize now that he is highly vulnerable to their smear machine and are ready to pounce on him with 527 ads and more. In light of recent events, they feel that they can paint him as lacking substance, unpatriotic, and racist and that it will stick. They now realize he's a much easier target to take down than Hillary. I believe that Republicans in PA are following talking points and directives from the GOP and will be voting for Obama. What a shame and what a sham this whole election is becoming!

    March 20, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  2. Mike

    Actually people, we Republicans want to run against Hillary because we don't want the nasty bigot on the other side to even get a whiff of the White House. And yes I heard the speech and no It did not make a difference. If you have not read "Dreams From my Father" I would suggest it, it's a real eye opener.

    March 20, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  3. deb in az

    sen obama made a statement saying the you know the typical white person.......can someone define for me what the typical white person is? and if you can do that what is the typical black person?

    March 20, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  4. Joyce in Florida

    When people for vote Hillary, she most likely will win by double digits. And it will be legit. The people know who is the stronger candidate and it is Hillary. I sincerely hope the super delegates look at what is happening now and they can change their minds. They don't necessarily have to go the way people voted in certain counties within their State.

    I sincerely wish and hope that Hillary will win Pennsylvania by a considerable margin. She definitely is closing the gap. You go girl!! We are proud of you here in Florida.

    GO HILLARY 08!!!!

    March 20, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  5. kelly WI

    These states that have to choose and register for a they have to change their registration again then for the general. ?
    We have open elections here and can vote any way we want. Whenever. More fair. Maybe its just the independants that can vote either way any time? We don't have to vote for party. can vote for the person.

    March 20, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  6. Neutral

    Obama volunteers in PA are asking Republicans and independents to register as democrats before the deadline is over for registration.

    Don't even blame Hillary Clinton. How many posters here supporting Obama are members of his church founded by Wright?

    March 20, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  7. Marcus

    Obama will be the next president of the USA. GO OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 20, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  8. La Petite Sorciere

    Go Obama
    no matter what the old lady says or does, the people wants you!!!

    Obama 08

    March 20, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  9. Susan, Seattle

    Hope everyone realizes that the Peter Paul trial against the Clintons begins just a few short months before the general election? That means, if Hillary is the nominee, it will be Clintons on the stand, lying, media circus - same as when they were in office. Republicans won't even need 527s, all they'll need is for people to read the news on the latest trial and scandals. The Republicans will mop the floor with her in a landslide. She doesn't care about this country, or her political party, she cares about herself. She lied about NAFTA - she was 100% for it - white house papers prove it. She lied about her experience. Do we want this as a President again? NOT THIS TIME!

    Obama has courage, strength, intelligence and integrity to lead this nation. He is not beholden to any lobbyists, and he will bring this country together.

    March 20, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  10. cj

    Republicans registering as democrats to vote for someone they THINK will lose against McCain...hmmm i guess it makes sense. It is totally ridiculous and not a reason to register to vote at all.

    I think that the Obama camp definitely gets credit for making this campaign the most exciting one I have experienced in my twenty five years of voting. I love him and I am voting for him all the way.

    It will be very difficult for me to vote for Hillary in November, if she wins the candidacy. I have always voted for the democratic party, but I can't see myself voting for 8 years of Hillary. I guess I will be right there with the Rush Limbaugh freaks voting for McCain in November.

    Don't let us down Pennsylvania, I know that you are capable of surprising us all and voting for Obama in record #'s.


    March 20, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
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