Last updated: February 17. 2013 8:29AM - 126 Views

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Attention, procrastinating Obama and Romney supporters: Tuesday is the last day to register to vote in the 2012 presidential election. Here's what you need to know about the voter registration deadline:


Q. Who needs to register? A. Anyone who has never voted before or has changed his or her name or address since they last voted needs to register or update their voter registration, according to Marisa Crispell-Barber, contracted election manager for Luzerne County.


Those who wish to change their political party affiliation also need to update their registration to do so.


Registration rolls are not purged, so even if you haven't voted in years you can vote this election provided your name or address has not changed.


If you want to check your registration status, call the Luzerne County Bureau of Elections at 825-1715 or search the state voter registration database at www.votespa.com. You can find your polling place and view your ballot on the same website.


Q. Who can register?



A. To vote in this election, you must be a U.S. citizen, a resident of Pennsylvania and the election district in which you want to vote and at least 18 years of age as of last week.


Q. How do I register? A. Luzerne County residents can register in person Tuesday at the county Bureau of Elections at 20 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 207. The office is open from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.


Registration forms can also be printed from www.votespa.com and mailed to: 20 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 207, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711. The envelope must be postmarked by 5 p.m. Tuesday.


The easiest way to register or update your registration is to do so when you renew your driver's license at a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation driver's license center, but Crispell-Barber noted voters should not go to a license center expressly to register.


Q. What about voter ID? A. The Commonwealth Court halted Pennsylvania's voter ID law from taking effect this year, so voters do not have to show ID to vote this election. Poll workers are legally allowed to ask for ID, but voters do not need to show proof of identification to cast a ballot.


Crispell-Barber noted that there is one exception: Voters applying for an absentee ballot must provide a driver's license number, the last four digits of their Social Security number or a copy of an acceptable photo ID.


Q. How many voters have registered so far? A. More than 3,500 new voters have registered in Luzerne County since the April primary election, according to voter registration data. Of those, 1,072 declared themselves Republican and 1,330 registered Democratic.


As of last week, there were 192,903 registered voters in Luzerne County, of which 110,462 were registered Democrats, 63,639 Republicans, 845 Libertarians and 440 Greens. About 3,395 declared themselves independents and 13,672 claimed no affiliation.


Voter turnout is ultimately what wins an election. In the 2008 presidential election, 138,076 of the county's 189,100 registered voters, or 73.5 percent, cast ballots, while in the 2011 municipal election only 66,517 of 188,591 registered voters, or 35 percent, voted.


Q. What have the political parties been doing to register voters? A. Joe Gocek of Plains Township, a volunteer for the Obama campaign, said he has helped an average of six to 10 voters register per day at the Democratic campaign headquarters on South Main Street in Wilkes-Barre.


"What I tell people is, if you don't register, you have no choice," he said. "But if you do register, you have two choices, you can vote or not vote."


Campaign volunteers have also been knocking on doors, manning phone banks and assisting voters with questions, Gocek said.


At the Romney Victory headquarters down the street, a half dozen campaign volunteers sat elbow-to-elbow Friday making phone calls to constituents. An office worker said he could not speak to media and referred calls to a state Republican Party spokesperson, who did not return a reporter's call.


Q. When is the election? A. The election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 6.


 
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