EDITORIAL: Now is the time to register to vote

York Dispatch

Tick tock. Time is running out.

Pennsylvanians have until Oct. 9 to register to vote in the Nov. 6 election.

It's never been easier to register to vote in Pennsylvania, although other states make it even more simple.

You can go to www.pavoterservices.pa.gov to register online. Or you can go to the York County Department of Elections and Voter Registration at the York County Administrative Center, 28 E. Market St., and fill out the form there. 

You can register at any Pennsylvania Department of Transportation photo license center when you get a drivers license. You can pick up a form at any state office that offers public assistance or at many county offices. 

Cars sit along Davidsburg Road as drivers wait to turn into the Dover Township Community Center polling place Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. Amanda J. Cain photo

More:Grim warnings for White House, Republicans ahead of election

More:As midterms near, Trump gambles on his hardline trade policy

You don't need to show identification when you register, but first-time voters are required to show either some form of photo ID or something else with a current address on it, such as a utility bill or paycheck stub.

In Pennsylvania, anyone who is a U.S. citizen, is 18 or older on Election Day and is not in prison is eligible to vote.

So yes, even if you have a felony conviction, as long as you are not in prison you can vote.

Not sure if you're registered? You can check at www.pavoterservices.pa.gov.

Other states make it much simpler to register or change voter registration. In 17 states and the District of Columbia, residents can register on Election Day. In 37 states and D.C., voting is allowed for a designated period before Election Day, and in Colorado, Oregon and Washington, all voting is done by mail, so no one has to go to a polling place.

Pennsylvania doesn't allow any of that. We have to show up to a designated polling place between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Nov. 6.

The only way around that is to request an absentee ballot. If you know ahead of time you will be out of town or unable to get to your polling place on Election Day for medical reasons, you can get an absentee ballot, but you have to apply before Oct. 30 and return the ballot before Nov. 2.

Devers K-8 students, from left, Johnny Dickerson, 6; Sheliyah Orr, 9, and A'naya Perry, 12, walk to school past political signs at the Lincoln Engine Co. polling site Tuesday, Nov. 23 2015. York County voters can vote at their designated polling place until 8 p.m. Bill Kalina - bkalina@yorkdispatch.com

Could all of this be easier? Yes, of course it could. Pennsylvania should allow same-day registration, early voting and voting by mail. Working people would appreciate not having to fill out forms ahead of time and show up at a certain spot on a certain day. Parents would appreciate not having to drag small children to a voting site to wait in line. 

Still, voter registration is healthy in our state. In Pennsylvania, 87 percent of the voting-age population was registered to vote in 2016, and 70 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in the presidential election, according to the Department of State.

If you are eligible, you are probably registered to vote. But you probably also know someone who isn't registered. 

Know anyone who recently turned 18? Became a citizen? Moved? You can help them get registered. 

You've done that? Great. The next step is to get involved.

Pick a candidate and help their campaign. Sign up to help people get to the polls on Election Day. Sign up to be a poll worker. 

Or just make sure that you and your family get out and vote this year.

This midterm election promises high drama. The congressional map now divides York County into two districts, the 10th and the 11th. Truly, anything could happen.

One of Pennsylvania's Senate seats is on the line. Most of York County will be electing a new state senator for the 28th District. The governorship is on the line. Every state representative is up for election.

We're not electing a president, but there are still plenty of races on the ballot to get excited about. 

But the only way to make your voice count is to get registered and vote. Don't wait.