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Secretary of State: Online voter registration site now allows upload of digital signature

03/21/2016

Harrisburg, PA - The state’s online voter registration system now allows applicants to upload their signature electronically if necessary, Secretary of State Pedro A. Cortés announced today.

With the new feature, Pennsylvania becomes the latest state that allows all eligible voters to submit a completely electronic online voter registration (OVR) application.

The OVR site, launched in August 2015, can link to electronic signatures on file with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Previously, applicants with no driver’s license or PennDOT ID, or whose information could not be verified with PennDOT, were offered two options. They could print the completed application, sign it and mail it to their county election office. Or they could choose to have a signature form mailed to them to complete and mail.

“This enhancement is another step toward making online voter registration as convenient and accessible as possible,” Secretary Cortés said. “Although our previous set-up provided other options for those with no signature on file, this makes OVR a completely electronic transaction for all eligible citizens.”

The signature upload feature will be available only to applicants whose signature cannot be linked from PennDOT. In order to ensure security, the Department is using the same technology used by financial institutions for online banking transactions that require digital signatures.

Marian K. Schneider, Deputy Secretary for Elections and Administration, offered guidelines for those who must upload a digital image of their signature.

“We strongly recommend that applicants use black ink and sign their name on plain white, non-glossy paper,” Schneider said. “The signature upload works very well when done by smartphone or other mobile device.”

With the March 28 deadline to register for the April primary election quickly approaching, Schneider said the OVR system is proving to be of great benefit to county elections offices. Each online application is transmitted to the appropriate county office for processing.

“In the past, most counties had to hire temporary staff or pay overtime to handle the influx of registrations in a presidential election year,” Schneider said. “We are hearing from the counties that OVR has already lessened that workload.”

Pennsylvania’s OVR system is available in English and Spanish. The latest protocols in data security have been built into the system and are constantly monitored and updated.

To learn more about online voter registration, check the frequently asked questions at www.votesPA.com.

MEDIA CONTACT: Wanda Murren - (717) 783-1621

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