The number of registered Republicans over Democrats in Lawrence County has surged since the June 2 primary and now exceeds 2,000 for the upcoming presidential election.
Ed Allison, director of elections, told members of the election board Tuesday the difference has grown as many people have steadily been registering to vote or changing their party affiliations.
"We have individuals switching both ways," he said, adding that the number of Independent voters have stayed about the same. The deadline for registering to vote is Monday, and people are still registering, Allison said. The differential number reflects new registrants and people who have been changing their parties.
Commissioner Dan Vogler, who sits on the election board, noted that the Democratic party took the majority in Lawrence County in 1972 and it held on until this year as the majority party.
Vogler pointed out that Western Pennsylvania counties seem to be turning into predominantly Republican counties, while in eastern Pennsylvania, rural counties surrounding Philadelphia, seem to be changing to predominantly Democrat.
The last day to apply for mail-in ballots is Oct. 21. They must be returned to the county board of elections by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3, at the close of the polls. Military and overseas ballots must be submitted for delivery no later than 11:59 p.m. Nov. 2.
Allison explained that the county to date has received about 14,000 requests for absentee and mail-in ballots. As of Monday, all of the ballots requested had been mailed out, he said. The mailing of absentee ballots started Thursday and Friday last week and was finished Monday. Then they started sending out the mail-in ballots, he said. At the last count, the county had received more than 11,500 mail in ballot applications and more 1,500 absentee ballot applications. They were mailed first to the outlying municipalities in the county deemed to have the longest delivery time, then ballots for Neshannock Township and the city were the last to be mailed out, Allision said.
"We've mailed out all of the ballots, but we're still getting requests for ballots, tons of them," he said.
The mail-in and absentees must be returned to the voter's office in the courthouse no later than 8 p.m. on Nov. 3 at the close of elections.