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League of Women Voters

Pennsylvania Voting Guide

At a glance:

Voting Alert

Registration Deadline

The registration deadline for the Tuesday, November 8, 2016 General Election is Tuesday, October 11, 2016.

The deadlines for registering is 30 days before each election.

You can now register to vote online! Click here to fill out your application. Or, you can print your registration form here.

For more information contact your local board of elections.

Registration Deadlines
In Person:
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
By Mail:
Received by Tuesday, October 11, 2016 Online by Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Election Dates:
Tuesday, November 8, 2016 (General Election)
Department of State
210 N. Office Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone:
717-787-5280
Fax:
717-787-2854

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to vote in Pennsylvania you must be:

  • A citizen of the United States for at least one month before the next primary, special, municipal or general election
  • A resident of Pennsylvania and the election district in which you register and vote for at least 30 days before the general, primary, municipal, special or general election
  • At least 18 years of age on or before the day of the next primary, special, municipal, or general election.

Please note to vote in a primary you must be registered and enrolled in a political party.

ID Needed for Voter Registration

If you have a Pennsylvania driver's license, you must provide your driver's license number on your registration form. If you do not have a Pennsylania license you must supply the last 4 digits of your social security number. If you do not have a Social Security Number, write none in the space provided for this number.

ID Needed for Voting?

Unless your are a first time voter, you do not need to show any ID to vote a regular ballot on Election Day.

First time voters are required to show some form of ID, but it does not need to be a photo ID. Acceptable forms of ID are:

  • Pennsylvania driver's license or PENNDOT ID card
  • ID issued by any Commonwealth agency
  • ID issued by the US Government
  • US Passport
  • US armed Forces ID
  • Student ID
  • Employee ID
  • Confirmation issued by the County Voter Registration Office
  • Non-photo ID issued by the Commonwealth that shows name and address
  • Non-photo ID issued by the US Government that shows name and address
  • Firearm permit
  • Current utility bill that shows name and address
  • Current bank statement that shows name and address
  • Current paycheck that shows name and address
  • Government check that shows name and address

All voters may be asked to show ID at the polls, however, you cannot be stopped from voting a regular ballot if you do not provide a valid ID.

 

Registration Deadline

The registration deadline for the Tuesday, November 8, 2016 General Election is Tuesday, October 11, 2016.

The deadlines for registering is 30 days before each election.

You can now register to vote online! Click here to fill out your application. Or, you can print your registration form here.

For more information contact your local board of elections.

Verify Voter Registration

To verify your voter registration status, please utilize your state resource. For more information contact your local elections registration official.

Absentee Ballot Process

If you are unable to vote at your polling place on Election Day, you may be able to vote by absentee ballot. You are able to vote absentee if you are:

  • A person who is in the military service of the United States
  • A spouse or dependent residing with or accompanying a person in the military service of the United States who expects to be absent on Election Day
  • A member of the Merchant Marine and your spouse and dependents residing with you expect to be absent on Election Day
  • A member of a religious or welfare group attached to and serving with the armed forces and your spouse and dependents living with or accompanying you expect to be absent on Election Day
  • An individual who, because of the elector's duties, occupation or business expects to be absent on Election Day
  • A qualified war veteran elector who is bedridden or hospitalized due to illness or physical disability and will be absent on Election Day
  • A person who, because of illness or physical disability, is unable to attend your polling place or to operate a voting machine with assistance by distinct and audible statements
  • A spouse or dependent accompanying a person employed by the Commonwealth or the federal government, in the event that the employee's duties, occupation or business on Election Day require you to be absent
  • A county employee who expects that your Election Day duties relating to the conduct of the election will prevent the employee from voting
  • A person who will not attend a polling place on Election Day because of the observance of a religious holiday

Beginning in November 2012, voters must provide a driver's license number, last 4 digits of Social Security number or a copy of an acceptable photo ID when applying for an absentee ballot. You may provide this information to the county over the phone, by email or by mail. Identification will be verified by the county before the voter's ballot with be counted. You have 6 days following the election to provide the necessary ID. UOCAVA voters and voters affected by the Voting Accessibility for Elderly and Handicapped Act are exempt.

To apply for an absentee ballot, download and print the absentee ballot application and send it to your county election office.

You may also apply for an absentee ballot through a letter. This letter must be signed by the voter and must include the same information as the forms provided by the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

The County Board of Elections must receive the applications no later than 5pm on the Tuesday before Election Day.

If you have an emergency and did not apply for an absentee ballot by the deadline you may download and apply for an Emergence Absentee Ballot. This application must be notarized before it is submitted. More information about Emergency Absentee Ballots can be found here.

Overseas and Military Voters

You are a Military or Overseas voter if you are in uniformed services, living overseas OR a spouse or dependant of a uniformed services voter. To get registered and vote, you can utilize Overseas Vote Foundation.

If you have additional questions about elections and voting overseas you can use our state specific elections official directory or contact the Overseas Vote Foundation.

Early Voting

Early voting is available through Pennsylvania's absentee ballot process.

Election Dates

The next election date is Tuesday, November 8, 2016 (Genearl Election). The registration deadline is Tuesday, October 11, 2016.

Contact your local Board of Elections, or view your state's election calendar, for information about local 2016 elections.

Poll Worker Information

In order to be a poll worker in Pennsylvania:

  • You must be registered to vote in Pennsylvania
  • You must be at least 18 years of age
  • You must be a resident of election district for the 30 days prior to the election.
  • Students enrolled in a high school who are 17 years old with residency in the county may be appointed with written permission from a parent or guardian and school principal

You will be entitled to compensation

To sign up, contact your local board of elections.

Polling Place Hours

The polling place will be open from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm.

Time Off To Vote

Time off to vote is subject to the employer. Pennsylvania state law does not require employers to grant time off to vote for employees.

Polling Place Locator

You can find your polling place by utilizing your state resource.

If you have further questions on your polling place location, please contact your county clerk.

Provisional Voting

You are provided the opportunity to cast a provisional ballot if:

  • You appear to vote and claim to be properly registered and eligible to vote in the election district but your name does not appear on the district register (poll book) and elections officials cannot determine your registration.
  • Regardless of whether your name appears on the general register, you do not have an approved form of identification when you appear to vote in an election district.
  • An election official asserts that you are not eligible to vote. (In a primary election this includes if you claim to be registered for a particular political party, but the district register indicates you are registered as a member of another political party.)

You are required to vote by provisional ballot if:

  • Your voting as a result of a Federal or State court order.
  • You are voting as a result of an order extending the time established for closing the polls by state law that is in effect 10 days before an election.

If you vote on a provisional ballot, you will be asked to:

  • Complete and sign the provisional ballot affidavit on the back of the provisional ballot affidavit envelope.
  • Complete a provisional ballot in an accessible and private area of the polling place.
  • Seal the completed provisional ballot in a secrecy envelope.
  • Seal the secrecy envelope in the provisional ballot affidavit envelope.
  • Sign the front of the provisional ballot affidavit envelope.
  • Return the sealed provisional ballot affidavit envelope to a polling place election official.
  • Receive your provisional ballot identification receipt.

If you already voted by absentee ballot for this election, you will be asked to cancel your absentee ballot. Within seven days after the election, the county board of elections will examine the provisional ballot to determine the validity of your completed provisional ballot. At least seven days after the election, using the information provided to you on the provisional ballot identification receipt, call 1-877-VOTES-PA or visit the department of state. Provide your provisional ballot identification number. You will be told whether your provisional ballot was counted, partially counted or not counted. If your provisional ballot was not counted, you will be told why.

Voting Machines

The voting systems used in Pennsylvania are optical scan, DRE, and paper ballots.

Optical Scan: With this system, you will receive a card or sheet of paper, which you take over to a private table or booth. The card has the names of the various candidates and ballot measures printed on it. With a pen or pencil you fill in a little box or circle or the space between two arrows. When you are finished filling out all the cards, you may bring the cards over to a ballot box, where poll workers will show you how to put the cards in the box. Or in some places, you may feed the completed cards or papers into a computer device that checks your card or paper right there at the polling place to make sure you have voted the way you want to and counts the votes.

Direct Recording Electronic (DRE): This is the newest kind of system in use in the U.S. All the information about who and what you are voting for is on an electronic screen like a TV or computer screen.

There are many variations of DREs because lots of companies are inventing new ones, and many cities, counties and states are trying them out. Usually, after you have signed in, the poll workers will give you a card that you slide into a device to start your voting session.

Some of these devices will show all of the candidates and ballot choices on one big screen. Often, with these big screen devices you push a button next to the name of the candidate you want to vote for (or yes or no on a ballot measure). On other DREs, the screen is set up to show pages. On each screen or page, there will probably be one thing to vote on. For example, on one screen or page, you might vote for president. Then you might move to the next page to vote for senator. Often these small-screen devices have a touch screen where you touch the screen next to the name of the person you want to vote for. Other devices have a key pad. And some have a keyboard, so you can write in the name of someone you want to vote for.

You let the system know you are finished voting by pushing a button, touching the screen or entering something on a keypad.

Paper Ballots: Paper ballots are one of the oldest ways of voting in America. They are still used in a few places on Election Day. When you come to the polling place, you will get a paper ballot from the poll worker. You take it to the voting booth, and use a pen or pencil to mark a box next to your candidate and issue choices. You then drop the marked ballot into a sealed ballot box.

You can learn more about voting systems by checking out the Elections Assistance Commission's (EAC) resource.

Candidate and Ballot Measure Information

Information on local, state and federal candidates and ballot measures may be available here.

To see a list of available races, visit the race index.

 

Provisions for Voters with Disabilities

Any voter who requires assistance to vote by reason of blindness, disability, or inability to read or write may be given assistance by a person of the voter's choice, other than the voter's employer or agent of that employer or officer or agent of the voter's union. The Judge of Elections cannot assist a voter with disabilities.

For those voters who have a disability or are elderly and assigned to an inaccessible polling place, the Secretary of the Commonwealth has directed the county boards of elections to make available to those voters, upon their request, an Alternative Ballot. An Alternative Ballot may be cast with the county board of elections by 8 p.m. (or the close of polls) on Election Day. However, an application for an Emergency Alternative Ballot may be submitted until 8:00 P.M. on Election Day. The prescribed form by which an eligible voter might apply for an Alternative Ballot is available by:

Applications for alternative ballots must be submitted to your County Board of Elections no later than 5pm on the Tuesday before Election Day.

For more information, you can utilize the American Association of People With Disabilities (AAPD) resource.

    Campaign Finance Information

    For information on federal campaign contributions, please visit Open Secrets.

    For information on state campaign contributions, please visit your state's resource.


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