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Voter Registration Rolls Swell in PA
by Quinten Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2004 at 9:03 AM
quinten@indypgh.org (email address validated)

Voter registration rolls increased across the state, but not in Allegheny County. Meanwhile, students may have fraudulently had their party enrollment changed in three local counties.

The Pennsylvania Department of State today released updated voter registration data. Overall, Democrats registered slightly more new voters than Republicans -- 108,000 -- since the primaries this summer.

In Pittsburgh, that trend was reversed, although the Post-Gazette attributed this trend to declining populations in Pittsburgh and slightly growing populations in the more conservative suburbs.

An analysis of a larger set of voter registration data reveals one thing that the Post-Gazette did not report: the only voter registration group that increased in absolute numbers from 2002 was the Pennsylvania Green Party; as a proportion of the overall voter registration rolls, it more than doubled.

The number of independent and other-third party voters also increased during that time, as the table below shows:

2002 % total 2004 % of total % loss
Dem 573996 61.56 552525 60.73 0.83
Repub 266698 28.60 258336 28.39 0.21
Green 822 0.088 1611 0.177 -0.089
Other 90869 9.74586678 93619 10.29 -0.544
total 932385 909750

Meanwhile, Governor Rendell has vowed to investigate allegations that contractees hired by the group "Project America Votes" tricked students at at least three campuses -- the University of Pittsburgh, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and Montgomery County Community College -- into registering as members of the Republican Party, by asking them to sign petitions for a variety of causes, including a pro-marijuana legalization petition and a petition to lower auto insurance rates for young drivers.

In some cases, students who were clearly not eligible to register to vote were registered in the scam, including students who were citizens of other countries.

The organization whose canvassers appeared to have perpetrated the fraud, Project America Votes, belongs to Sproul and Associates, a group under contract to the GOP. It has come under fire recently in several other states where some canvassers have said that they had been told to refuse to register Democrats or to discard their registration forms after they had been completed.

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