How to make sure you are able to vote Nov. 8
The ins and outs of registering, polling places, absentee and provisional ballots
Everyone is talking about this election but no one is doing anything about it!
That’s because the only ones, ultimately, who get to do anything about the upcoming elections are the voters.
And in order to vote, you have to be registered.
If you want to be one of the people who does something about this election, and you are not registered yet, you have until Oct. 11 to do it.
Don’t worry, it’s pretty easy.
Who can register?
To be able to register, you need only be: • A U.S. citizen for at least one month before the election;
• A resident of Pennsylvania and the election district where you intend to vote for at least 30 days before the election;
• At least 18 years on or before the day of the election.
How do you register?
If you’re not sure whether you’re registered, it’s easy to check with the state online. Just go to: https://www.pavoterservices.state.pa.us/Pages/voterregistration
status.aspx and enter your name, date of birth and address and your registration status will be displayed.
If you find you’re not registered, you can register online at the following state website: register. votespa.com and either register there, or download the form and mail it in.
Also, voter registration forms are available at municipal government offices, libraries and state wine and liquor stores. Once filled out, they should be mailed to the voter services office in your county.
• Berks County: Berks County Election Services, Berks County Services Center, Voter Registration, 633 Court Street, 1st Floor, Reading, PA 19601.
• Chester County: Voter Registration, Chester County Office of Voter Services, 601 Westtown Road, Suite 150, PO Box 2747, West Chester, PA 19380-0990.
• Delaware County: Voter Registration, Government Center Building, 201 W. Front St., media, PA 19063.
• Montgomery County: Montgomery County Voter Registration, P.O. Box 311, Norristown, PA 19404-0311
No photo ID required
Its important to remember that you are not considered
registered to vote until your application has been processed and your county voter services office sends you a Voter Identification Card, which should occur with 14 days of your application being submitted.
Your voter identification card is not the same as the photo ID which made headlines a few years ago.
Pennsylvania’s strict photo ID law for all voters is no longer in effect.
The only time ID is required at the polls is for first-time voters at a location and it can be a photo or non-photo ID, but must show your address.
Unless you are a firsttime voter, poll workers should not ask you for a photo ID for the 2016 election and you do not need one to vote, according to information posted on the web site of the Berks County Office of Election Services.
If you know you will not be able to make it to the polls on Nov. 8, you can vote by absentee ballot, but you have to make arrangements ahead of time.
The last day to apply for an absentee ballot is by 5 p.m. Nov. 1, and the last day a voter services office can accept an absentee ballot is on Nov. 4, according to information posted on the Chester County Voter Services web site.
Note that postmarks will
not apply in terms of beating either deadline.
You can download a copy of an absentee ballot form at: http://chesco.org/2100/ Vote-as-an-Absentee and then mail it, use a private express service or hand-deliver it to your county election services office.
You may also simply send a letter that includes your name, residential address, date of birth, reason for requesting an absentee ballot, where to mail the ballot and the signature of the voter requesting the ballot.
You can also call your county voter services office to request that an absentee ballot application be mailed to your location.
Know that the absentee ballot application requires you to supply your PA Driver’s License number or PennDOT-issued Pennsylvania photo identification card (PennDOT photo ID).
If you do not have a driver’s license number or PennDOT photo ID number you must supply the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number.
Where do i vote?
There is web site operated by the Pennsylvania Department of State which can tell you where to go vote: https://www.pavoterservices.state.pa.us/Pages/ PollingPlaceInfo.aspx
Simply type in your address and it will identify your polling place.
(If you checked your registration status on-line, it should also have indicated your polling place.)
Also, most county web sites, have polling place locators as well as maps showing which legislative or magesterial justice district in which you are located.
What is a provisional ballot?
According to the Berks County voter services site, “a provisional ballot is a paper ballot used at the polling place to record a vote when there is some question regarding a voter’s eligibility.”
You have the right to vote by provisional ballot if:
• Even though you are properly registered and eligible to vote in the election district, your name does not
appear on the district register (poll book) and Election Officials cannot determine your registration status.
• An Election Official asserts that you are not eligible to vote.
• A first time voter who forgets to bring ID to the polls.
• You are 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.
County Election Officials will examine the provisional ballots within seven days after an election to determine whether you were entitled to vote in the election at the election district where you voted.
After this seven-day period, you can find out if your provisional ballot was counted, partially counted or not counted. If your provisional ballot was not counted, you will be told why it was not counted.
To learn your provisional ballot’s status, you may call 1-877-VOTESPA or go to the state voter services site — https://w w w.pavoterservices.state.pa.us/Pages/ SurePortalHome.aspx — where you can search for your provisional ballot.
To receive this information, you will be asked to provide your provisional ballot identification number, which can be found on your provisional ballot identification receipt.
Register. Don’t miss out on your chance to something about this election.