A surge in voter registration just before the Oct. 9 deadline means Lehigh County has topped the number of voters registered for the 2008 presidential election.
The county voter registration, as of the morning of Oct. 11, was 76,135 Republicans, 112,411 Democrats and 36,741 Independents and members of other parties, according to Tim Benyo, Lehigh County chief clerk of Voter Registration and Elections.
That’s a total of 225,287, with Democrats having a 36,276 edge over Republicans, but the county still had more registrations to put into the computerized voter records.
In Lehigh County, there were 224,086 people registered to vote in the 2008 presidential election and 68 percent of them did, according to the county Voter Registration web site.
As for trends, Benyo said the county is seeing the results of concentrated voter registration drives in the Allentown area, especially in the Hispanic community.
“In Lehigh County, we’ve had a lot of registration drives in the city targeting Spanish-speaking people,” he said. That has driven up the number of Democrats registered in Allentown, Benyo said.
As of Oct. 11, the county had sent out 4,472 absentee ballots.
Registered voters who can’t make it to the polls can apply for an absentee ballot until 5 p.m. Oct. 30. They must have the completed ballots back to the voter registration office by 5 p.m. Nov. 2 for them to be counted.
When voters go to the polls Nov. 6, they will be asked for photo identification. But if they say they don’t have it, they will still be allowed to vote. That was the determination of Commonwealth Court Judge Robert E. Simpson of Nazareth, who upheld the new Voter ID law but halted it from taking full effect until after the election.
Simpson’s ruling let stand the portion of the Voter ID law that requires absentee voters to provide on their ballot a photo ID such as their Voter ID number or Pennsylvania driver’s license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number.
Benyo said his office has already conducted training for some poll workers but still has more training sessions later this month.
In the 2008 presidential election, 68 percent of the county’s registered voters cast a ballot and in the 2004 presidential race it was 73.6 percent.