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VOTING FAQ's

Voter Registration
Absentee Ballots

Polling Place Information

More Information

Voter Registration

What are the requirements to register to vote?
You must be:

  • A citizen of the United States for at least 1 month before the next election,
  • 18 years old by the date of the next election, and
  • A resident of Pennsylvania and your election district for at least 30 days.

How do I register to vote?
You can use the forms that are available online in English or Espaņol. Make sure you fill out the form completely; then print, sign, and mail it to your County Board of Elections.

What do I need to register?
The application form will ask you for your driver's license number. If you do not have a driver's license you can supply the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you do not have a Social Security number write "none" in that space.

Is the information on my form confidential?
Voter registration information is a matter of public record. Under the National Voter Registration Act, however, states may not use information on declinations or the site of individual registration for any purpose other than voter registration. Also, states that require Social Security numbers are required to protect the confidentiality of that information.

What is the deadline to register for the May 15 Municipal Primary?
The deadline to register to vote in Pennsylvania for the 2007 Municipal Primary is April 16, 2007. Applications received after this date will be processed for the next election.

How do I know if I'm registered?
Within a few weeks after you send in or hand in your registration application, you should get a notice in the mail telling you that you are now officially a registered voter. Hold on to that notice. Often those notices tell you where you go to vote, and that's something you'll want to know later on. If you don't receive this notice, check with your County Board of Elections to see if there is a problem with your registration. If there is a problem with your registration, take corrective action immediately.

How can I stay registered?
A voter can be removed from the registration rolls if they have not voted in two successive federal elections. If you are unsure of your registration status call your County Board of Elections.

I have trouble writing. What should I do?
Under the National Voter Registration Act, state agencies required to provide voter registration opportunities, i.e., department of motor vehicles, public assistance agencies and agencies that serve people with disabilities, must provide assistance in filling out the voter registration form if asked.

I am registered, but I've recently moved. Does this affect my registration?
Yes. If you are registered and have moved within your current election jurisdiction, contact your County Board of Elections to update your registration and determine where you should vote. If you moved outside of your old election jurisdiction, you will have to reregister in your new jurisdiction before April 16, 2007.

What if I moved but forgot to notify the voter registration office to change my voter registration?
If you have moved from the residence where you are registered to vote to another residence in Pennsylvania less than 30 days before an election, you may vote only at your former residence. After the election, but at least 30 days before the next election, you should change your voter registration by submitting a new voter registration mail application form.

If you have moved from the residence where you are registered to vote more than 30 days before an election but did not change your address with the voter registration officials, you may vote only at the polling place that covers your old residence, the one where you are registered to vote. However, you can vote at your old polling place only once, and there are special procedures that you must follow. For more information contact your County Board of Elections.

What do I do if I have changed my name?
You must reregister by filling out this form.

Absentee Ballots

May I vote using an absentee ballot?
Absentee ballots are available to the following persons:

  • persons in the armed forces, their spouses and dependents,
  • other citizens in federal service attached to the armed forces,
  • persons absent from their municipality the entire time the polls are open,
  • those who cannot attend the polls because of illness or disability,
  • county employees whose Election Day responsibilities prohibit them from going to the polls, and
  • persons who will not go to the polls because of observing a religious holiday.

More information on who is eligible to vote by absentee ballot can be found on the Department of State's web site.

How do I vote by absentee ballot?
You must apply for an absentee ballot. The absentee ballot application is available from the Department of State's web site or you may request one from your County Board of Elections.

Where do I send my absentee ballot application?
Completed applications should be mailed to your County Board of Elections.

What is the deadline to apply for an absentee ballot?
The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is the Tuesday before the election.

What is the deadline to return my voted absentee ballot?
The deadline to return your voted absentee ballot is no later than 5:00 p.m. on the Friday before the election.

What if an emergency arises after the absentee ballot application deadline?
If an emergency arises after the 5PM Friday deadline contact your County Board of Elections for instructions on how to cast an emergency absentee ballot.

Where should I vote if I'm a college student?
Decide whether to use your family home or your campus address as your voting residence. Then follow the steps above to register. Students living away from home and registered in their home community will need to vote by absentee ballot. For more information see the Student's Guide to Voting (pdf).

I am a U.S. citizen living abroad? How do I vote?
You must request an absentee ballot. Contact a U.S. embassy, consulate, designated military personnel or your state election authority. For additional information contact the Federal Voting Assistance Program.

My friend is a U.S. citizen who doesn't speak English. Where can I get assistance for him/her?
Check with your County Board of Elections to see whether your state provides election materials in a language other than English. The Voting Rights Act requires local election officials to provide bilingual voter registration application, ballots and language assistance when a certain percentage of the population of an election district is comprised of a language minority group.

Polling Place Information

Where do I go to vote?
Your registration card should include the address of your polling place. Many jurisdictions also send additional informative materials to registered voters. If you do not receive information in the mail, call your County Board of Elections.

How do I become familiar with the voting system used in my county or how do I write-in a vote?
For more information about the type of voting machine or system used in your county, and how to vote correctly including write-in vote information, contact your County Board of Elections and/or visit the Voting In Your County web site which provides text, pictures and video explaining the voting procedures in your county.

What should I bring with me to the polls?
If you are voting for the first time in the election district, you must bring a Photo ID such as a driver's license, student ID or some other form of US or PA government issued ID or a US or PA government issued non-photo ID such as a voter identification card, a firearm permit, or a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or government check. Click here for a complete list of acceptable forms of ID.

When are the polls open?
The polls are open at 7:00 a.m. and stay open until 8:00 p.m. on Election day. You can vote as long as you are in line by 8:00 p.m.

What if my name is not on the registration list?
A member of the Election Board will help you determine if you are in the right polling place. If so, or if your eligibility to vote is challenged for any reason, you have the right to cast a provisional ballot. Your ballot will be counted if the county board of elections determines you are qualified. You will be given instructions on how to find out if your vote was cast. Click Here for more information about provisional voting.

Will my polling place be accessible to persons with a disability?
There is no guarantee that your polling place will be accessible to all persons with a disability. All counties are required to provide notices of the locations of the polling places and list whether the polling places are accessible. If you have questions regarding your polling place, contact your County Board of Elections.

May I receive assistance in voting?
No person is allowed to receive assistance in voting unless his/her registration record indicates the need for assistance or the voter completes and signs a declaration of the need for assistance at the polling place prior to entering the voting machine booth.

Is there any specials means of transportation provided for the disabled to reach the polls?
Not officially, but the political parties often provide transportation for their voters, if the need is made known.

More Information

Where can I get more information about registration and voting?

Where can I get more information about the candidates in my area?

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Membership is open to men and women of 18 years of age or older.