CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — The 2021 primary elections are coming up in May, but recent voter registration numbers in Centre County show about a 7,000 person decrease since the 2020 presidential election.

Commissioners say this is due to the “Help America Vote Act” which makes registration inactive for those who have missed two federal election cycles. In Centre, they say this may be a large majority of student voters, who have since graduated from Penn State University and moved out of the area.

The primary elections are for positions that direct affect local government.

“Local offices such as mayor, supervisor, borough council… those positions are so vital to the day-in, day-out operations of our local community,” said Michael Pipe, Centre County commissioner. “These are individuals who are giving their time, these jobs are typically not compensated for, but it’s really a volunteer activity to better our community.”

Voters will also have a new opportunity to opt-in to the permanent vote-by-mail list. Commissioner Pipe says residents will receive an application in the mail to choose how they’d prefer to vote.