Election 2020

Philadelphia has the highest number of registered voters in 35 years

More than 90% of eligible residents have signed up to cast a ballot.

Voters in line at the Liacouras Center satellite election office in late October

Voters in line at the Liacouras Center satellite election office in late October

Mark Henninger / Imagic Digital

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Next time you’re in the supermarket, at a park, or anywhere in Philly with other adults, look around. On average, 9 out of 10 your socially distant citymates are registered to vote.

That’s a record high for Philadelphia voter registration over the past three decades.

As of Oct. 19, the deadline for the November general election, more than 1,120,000 Philadelphians had signed up to cast a ballot, according to statistics from the Pa. Department of State.

In total volume, that’s higher than any year since 1984, per data kept by the Office of City Commissioners, when registration hit a peak of just over 1,135,000.

In terms of percentage of eligible voters, it’s the highest since 2004 — because the city’s population has fluctuated.

Currently, nearly 1.6 million people live within the city limits, Pew reports, with that number expected to creep up slightly this year. About 22% are under 18, according to the most recent U.S. Census data, which removes them from the voter equation. On the other side, some of the registered voters in the city are in the military or living abroad. Reports show there’s been an average of about 20k votes cast this way in recent elections.

Taken together, that calculates out to more than 90% of all eligible residents being registered to vote right now.

Will everyone come out to vote? Unlikely, but there are signs turnout could be high.

Part of that assessment is based on mail ballots, which anyone can use this year for the first time in Pennsylvania. Philly voters have requested nearly 410k mail ballots so far, which is close to 60% of the number of total votes cast in the most recent presidential election.

Mail ballots in Pa. can be requested through Tuesday, Oct. 27.

If you want to vote by mail and haven’t applied yet, or haven’t received the ballot you applied for online, hit up one of the city’s 16 satellite election offices to make sure you get it before the cutoff. Then return it on the spot or place it in one of the 24-hour drop boxes around the city to ensure it arrives on time. Note: You can’t return others’ voted ballots this way, only your own.


To chat with a live person about any question you have regarding voting, text EQUALINFO to 73224.

Want some more? Explore other Election 2020 stories.

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