New Record close in Pa. Voter Registration

April 7, 2008 6:12:56 PM PDT
Voter registration for Pennsylvania's April 22 presidential primary is close to setting a a new record, and a surge of Democratic sign-ups has reversed years of Republican domination in two suburban Philadelphia counties.

Statewide registration stands at 8.32 million - fewer than 50,000 votes shy of breaking the record set in the 2004 presidential election, according to updated county totals state officials released Monday.

That total is expected to grow because county officials continue to process applications that were filed by the March 24 deadline.

The number of registered Democrats is 4.2 million, up 8 percent since last fall's election, reflecting intense interest in the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination between Sens.

Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois.

They are competing for 158 delegates to the national nominating convention in Denver in August - the largest group of delegates that will be awarded in the 10 contests remaining.

As a result of the latest updates, Democrats outnumber Republicans in Bucks and Montgomery counties - both longtime GOP bastions - for the first time in recent memory. Democrats also have made steady gains in neighboring Chester and Delaware counties, largely because of recruitment drives by the Obama and Clinton campaigns, but the Republican Party remains the majority party there.

Republican registration declined statewide by about 2 percent to 3.2 million, while the number of voters unaffiliated with either party declined by about 4 percent to 942,867.