Last look at voter registration: Dems hold edge, GOP approaches party record

Nov. 6—HARRISBURG — Voter registration totals ticked up after Pennsylvania's spring primary election and neither major political party realized an edge as the 134,535 new electors spread largely evenly among Democrats, Republicans and the combination of third parties and non-party affiliates.

The count of Keystone State voters grew by 1.5% from May 18 through Oct. 24, the open registration period between the primary and Tuesday's general election.

All four Valley counties have more registered voters for this election compared to the primary election. Northumberland County added 650 new voters and Union County added 632, while the totals in Snyder (163) and Montour (158) were smaller.

According to the data, 71.3 percent of the voters who registered or switched parties in the Valley are Republicans and there are more new independent/third-party voters (264) than there are new Democrats (195).

In Northumberland County, 93 fewer Democrats are registered to vote for the general election, but 636 more Repulicans and 107 more independents registered.

In Snyder County, 49 fewer Democrats, 181 new Republicans and 31 new independent or other voters have registered since the primary.

Both Union County had more new Democrats register (300) compared to Republicans (233).

In Montour County,37 new Democrats registered or changed parties compared to 93 new Republicans. Twenty-eight new independent or third party voters registered.

Statewide, Republicans saw the most growth, adding 47,068 voters to reach a total of 3,497,357. Democrats gained 46,209 voters and now sit at 4,046,645.

Registered voters unaffiliated with either major party total 1,328,966, up by 41,258 from the spring.

There are now 8,872,968 registered voters eligible to cast a ballot in the election on Tuesday. The count entering the primary was 8,738,433.

With the exception of 2020, when 9,004,104 Pennsylvanians registered to vote, the number of registered voters for Tuesday's election is the commonwealth's largest over the past eight elections, according to data compiled by the Department of State.

That includes two midterm elections and the 2016 presidential race.

The upcoming ballot includes high-stakes races for governor, U.S. senator and state legislative offices. The results could tip the balance of power in Congress and potentially determine which direction the commonwealth takes on issues like abortion and election administration.

Democrats maintain the advantage in total voters by a margin of 549,288 over Republicans. However, the GOP enters this election with its most in at least the last eight elections with 2020 being the lone exception.

As for independents and non-party affiliates, the combined total is the highest it has been in that same period of time.

It's hard to guess how voter turnout will play out and whether the Democrats' edge will hold. In 2020, President Joe Biden topped former President Donald Trump by 80,555 votes in Pennsylvania to win the White House. That year, Democrats had 666,202 more registered voters than Republicans in the Keystone State.

In contrast, in that same election year, Democrat Josh Shapiro — his party's nominee for governor in 2022 — won reelection to the Office of Attorney General by 307,641 votes. Republicans Tim DeFoor and Stacy Garrity both overcame the Democrat voter advantage to win the offices of Auditor General and Treasurer, respectively.

The last time Pennsylvanians voted for a governor and U.S. senator on the same ballot was 2018. That year, 5,006,555 votes were cast in each race, or 58.6% of the electorate.

Analysts consistently say midterm elections draw lower voter participation than presidential races. In fall 2020, 76.5% of Pennsylvania voters cast a ballot; 70.1% in fall 2016.

However, an analysis of election data by The Philadelphia Inquirer found that more Democrats and Republicans voted in the spring 2022 primary than any other primary in the past 25 years. And, the media outlet points out, independents and non-party affiliates now get their say on Tuesday. Primaries are party-members-only affairs in Pennsylvania.