More women are registering to vote than men, especially in more densely populated counties like York County.
There are 164,896 registered voters in York County, according to the York County Board of Elections. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated there were 179,195 eligible voters in York County in 2016. That means an estimated 92 percent of the eligible population — residents older than 18 — actually registered to vote.
That percentage is lower in the more rural counties of Lancaster and Chester. In Lancaster, about 88 percent of the estimated eligible population are registered to vote, and in Chester, only about 79 percent are registered.
Tyler Griffin, York County Republican Party chairperson, said voting is the best way for citizens to influence politics.
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“I think voting is the bedrock of our democracy,” Griffin said. “It's probably one of the most direct ways to get involved.”
But there are still differences in who is actually registered to vote. Far more women who are eligible to vote are registered than men.
In York County, 94 percent of women the U.S. Census Board estimated were eligible to vote actually registered, compared to 89 percent of men.
In Lancaster County, about 94 percent of eligible woman are registered, compared to 82 percent of men.
In Chester County, only 84 percent of women are registered compared to 73 percent of men.
Chester County Democratic Party Chairperson Anne Puccio said she’s often heard more women typically register to vote than men.
“I think we’ve seen a lot of women activists this last year or so, and so I would suspect that that's the reason for the greater turnout,” Puccio said.
Puccio said her organization is always working to get people to register to vote. She said more urban counties, like York County, have a larger activist population and see more of a push to vote.
She said the real challenge will be making sure those who are registered will actually go to the polls Tuesday.
“We fought long and hard for women's votes, for African-Americans' votes,” Puccio said. “It's their right as citizens, so that's why it's important. Plus, you can complain all day about the government and what they're doing, but it doesn't mean a whole lot if you’re not participating and voting. Trying to educate people their vote does matter is, I think, key.”
Lancaster County Democratic Party Chairperson Keith Grey said he understands why women and people of color may be especially motivated to register to vote.
“I'm 69 years old,” Grey said. “I'm an old white guy, and I don't believe I've ever seen the level of overt racism that I've seen in the last two years. And it's scary to me. I think we're going to see quite a turn out.”
Efforts to obtain comment from Republican Party organizations in Lancaster and Chester counties were unsuccessful.
York County Democratic Party Chairperson Jim Thompson said he’s happy to see high percentages of women registering, and hopes people in rural counties take advantage of online voter registration.
“We've seen a big uptick not only in women registering to vote but in their activities as far as volunteering with a political campaigns or party and as candidates this year,” Thompson said. “So that may have to do with what happened in November 2016, but not probably exclusively. I think women sometimes are a little bit more involved in issues in the community, so they may be more apt to register.”
Thompson said he expects to see more voter registrations for the Nov. 9 general election, but he said voting in primary elections is important, too.
“I urge all citizens to participate in the process,” he said. “And I say as someone who has never missed an election in my life since I was 18, it's just one of those few times where your vote, your voice, your opinions matter and does count.”
Grey said all voters should research candidates running for election in their district to make educated choices.
“Vote intelligently,” Grey said. “Don't just vote by party line or who your family votes for.”
Here’s a list of the local and state races contested in the Tuesday's primaries for York, Lancaster and Chester counties.
Republicans Catherine Templeton, Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant, Gov. Henry McMaster, John Warren and John Yancey McGill
Democrats Marguerite Willis, James Smith and Phil Noble
Republicans Todd Atwater, Alan Wilson and William D. Herlong
Secretary of State:
Republicans Mark Hammond, Joshua Putnam, Nelson Faerber and Kerry Wood
U.S. House of Representatives District 05:
Democrats Archie Parnell, Steve Lough, Mark Ali and Sidney Moore
State House of Representatives District 41 (Chester, Fairfield, Richland):
Democrats Mary Gail Douglas of Fairfield and Annie E. McDaniel
State House of Representatives District 43 (Chester, York):
Republicans Joe Tate and Randy Ligon
York County Council District 03:
Republicans Robert W. WInkler and Joe M. Cox
Chester County Council District 05:
Democrats Mary A. Guy of Chester and Tammy Williams
Chester County Council District 02:
Democrats Archie Lucas, Chris Melvin and Mike Vaughn