Everything You Need to Know About Voting
Decisions last week by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reshaped the landscape of the upcoming Nov. 3 general election.
The rulings by the Supreme Court included approval of drop boxes to help counties collect mail-in ballots, extension of the deadline for counties to receive mail-in ballots because of feared postal service delays.
The Supreme Court also ordered election officials to toss out “naked ballots,” which are mail-in ballots that arrive without inner “secrecy envelopes.” In Pennsylvania, a voter puts a completed mail-in ballot into a “secrecy envelope” that purposefully does not include any identifying information, and then THAT envelope is placed into a larger mailing envelope that the voter signs. It is crucial voters follow those instructions to ensure their votes are counted.
My hope is this post helps outline how these rulings impact the run-up to the election.
What you need to know about the 2020 General Election
The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 19. You can register through register.votespa.com. If you’re unsure, you can check the status of your registration.
The last day to apply for a mail-in or civilian absentee ballot is Oct. 27, though it is highly suggested you apply as soon as possible (if you haven’t already).
After you receive your mail-in or absentee ballot, fill it out and send it back as soon as you’re able because of likely postal service delays and the expected surge in mail-in ballots. However, the official deadline to return your mail-in ballot is 8 p.m. on Nov. 3 (the date of the general election). The Supreme Court ruling states that election officials must count ballots received through Nov. 6, so long as they are postmarked Nov. 3 or earlier.
If you want to avoid the mail altogether, you can deliver your mail-in ballot to one of the designated ballot drop box locations, which Montgomery County officials just detailed this week. By rule, I am not allowed to list the drop box locations in this email, but they can be found in the link above or through this link.
The drop box hours begin Oct. 3. From Oct. 3 through Oct. 30, hours will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays/Thursdays, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays/Sundays.
On Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, hours change to 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
And the boxes will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 2 and 3.
Voting in person on Nov. 3 is obviously also an option. Make sure you know the location of your polling place.
If you are a registered voter but your name does not appear on the voter roster at your polling place, you are entitled to fill out a provisional ballot. This is also available if you’re uncertain about the status of your mail-in ballot, though your vote will only be counted once.
As always, be aware of scams and false information spread by foreign actors and cybercriminals. In this state, trust votespa.com for accurate information.
If there are any questions about the voting process, Montgomery County officials announced earlier this month that the county will add several satellite offices to assist residents. Details on those satellite offices should be announced soon.
Please continue to stay safe, healthy and well informed.
And, if you have questions about the above topic or any state-related issue, please contact my office at 484-200-8263 or email RepWebster@pahouse.net.
Rep. Joe Webster
150th Legislative District