How to make sure you are able to vote Nov. 8

The ins and outs of reg­is­ter­ing, polling places, ab­sen­tee and pro­vi­sional bal­lots

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Evan Brandt ebrandt@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @PottstownNews on Twit­ter

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.

Ab­sen­tee bal­lots

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.

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