Voting in PA

Democracy in PA 1

Summary

Federal & state elections on the ballot: US Senator, 18 US House members, Governor, and 25 State Senate and 203 House members

Ballot measures: None

Registration for the November 8, 2022 Elections

  • Online:     By October 24, 2022
  • By Mail:     By October 24, 2022
  • In Person:   By October 24, 2022

The Pennsylvania Voting and Elections, part of the Secretary of State, oversees all Pennsylvania elections.

OnAir Post: Voting in PA

News

Senate Bill 222, which was referred to the Senate State Government Committee in February, outlines guidelines for legislative and congressional redistricting.

The legislation — sponsored by Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Northampton — defines a community of interest as a “neighborhood or geographically confined area of persons who share similar social, cultural, and economic interests or other shared interests.”

Simplifying and jokingly suggesting that a community of interest could divide Steelers fans and Eagles fans, Sen. Sharif Street, D-Philadelphia, noted that the definition could target specific demographics to reduce voting power.

The Democrats’ Giant Dilemma
Politico,,  Holly OtterbeinApril 16, 2021

John Fetterman’s blue-collar progressivism has endeared him to Pennsylvania voters. Why are so many Democratic leaders opposing his Senate run?

Since launching his Senate campaign in February, Fetterman has quickly amassed nearly $4 million—more than any other Democrat in the field and mostly in small-dollar donations. He’s running as a progressive and supports raising the minimum wage, Medicare for All, criminal justice reform and marijuana legalization. But he’s more middle-of-the-road on items like fracking and the Green New Deal. And while he’s pro-gun control, he has been a gun owner himself. (Two lesser-known contenders, liberal state lawmaker Malcolm Kenyatta and moderate county commissioner Val Arkoosh, have also already thrown their hats in the ring. Other big-name Democrats who are more centrist than Fetterman, like Rep. Conor Lamb, might still jump in.)

Fetterman’s fans think his brand of economic progressivism and his Carhartt-wearing linebacker vibe make him uniquely able to win elections in the kinds of Rust Belt and white working-class areas where Democrats have been hemorrhaging support. In a party often seen as too elite, the lieutenant governor is unfussy and plainspoken—he poses for official government photos in workman’s shirts and calls Republicans “simps” on Twitter. Fetterman’s campaign is making the case that he has the best shot at picking off Trump voters in the general election.

About

Secretary of the Commonwealth

Kathy Boockvar has served as Secretary of the Commonwealth since January 5, 2019. In this role, Boockvar leads the Pennsylvania Department of State.

The mission of the Department is to promote the integrity of the electoral process, to support economic development through corporate filings and transactions, and to protect the health and safety of the public through professional licensure. The department upholds the highest standards of ethics and competence in the areas of elections, campaign finance, notarization, professional and occupational licensure, charitable solicitation, and professional boxing, wrestling and mixed martial arts.

Boockvar is an attorney with an extensive background in public interest law and policy, election administration, and nonprofit healthcare administration, and has worked in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Most recently, she served as senior adviser to the governor on election modernization, leading and managing initiatives to improve security and technology in Pennsylvania’s elections and voting systems, in collaboration with federal, state, and county officials.

Prior to joining the Department of State in 2018, Boockvar served as executive director of Lifecycle WomanCare, one of the oldest continually operating birth centers in the U.S.  She led and oversaw operations, management, and policies of the nonprofit women’s healthcare organization, established and strengthened key partnerships with physicians, hospitals, and other organizations and professionals, and expanded services and programs.

Boockvar previously served as chief counsel for the Pennsylvania Auditor General, overseeing legal and interagency matters, and served as the Auditor General’s designee on the Board of Commissioners of the Delaware River Port Authority.

For many years, Boockvar worked as a poll worker and as a voting-rights attorney, gaining extensive knowledge of and experience with state and federal election laws and regulations, as well as local and county-level practices and procedures in Pennsylvania. Boockvar also worked for over a decade as a private practice attorney with a focus on employment law, and she began her career as a nonprofit Legal Services attorney, representing low-income, disabled, and senior clients, and victims of domestic violence.

Boockvar is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (B.A. 1990) and the American University, Washington College of Law (J.D. 1993). She received a Performance Leadership Certificate from Cornell University in 2014, and is a member of the Bar of the U.S. Supreme Court, Third Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. District Courts, and Pennsylvania, New York, and Washington, D.C. courts.

In 2017, she received a SmartCEO Brava Award that recognizes high-impact female business leaders. She has been a volunteer attorney with Wills for Heroes since 2012, providing essential legal documents free of charge to first responders.

In August 2019, Boockvar was appointed to serve as the Elections Committee Co-Chair for the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS)Opens In A New Window, working with her co-chair and Secretaries of State across the country to share best practices and provide the most secure and accessible elections to all eligible voters. In that capacity, she also serves as a NASS representative on the Election Infrastructure Subsector Government Coordinating Council (EIS-GCC). The EIS-GCC is a first of its kind collaboration among federal, state, and local officials to secure elections, working to formalize and improve information-sharing and communication protocols to ensure that timely threat information, support, and resources reach all election officials so they can respond to threats as they emerge.

Contact

Email: Voting and Elections

Locations

Voting and Elections
Phone: (717) 787-5280

Web

Voting and Elections, PA Redistricting website

Registering to Vote

General Information

Who can register

To register in Pennsylvania you must:

  • be a citizen of the United States at least one month before the next election
  • be a resident of Pennsylvania and your election district at least 30 days before Election Day
  • be at least 18 years of age on the day of the next election
  • not be incarcerated after conviction for a felony (your voting rights are restored immediately after incarceration)

How to register

  1. Use our Register to Vote Form below to fill out the National Voter Registration Form.
  2. Sign and date your form. This is very important!
  3. Mail or hand-deliver your completed form to the address we provide.
  4. Make sure you register before the voter registration deadline.

Election Day registration
N/A

Voting Rights restoration

If you have been convicted of a felony and have questions about whether you can register to vote, visit Restore Your Vote to determine your eligibility.

Registration Status (form)

New Registration (form)

Voting

General Information

Voting as a Student

Learn more from Campus Vote Project about voting for students.

Overseas and Military Voting

You are a Military or Overseas voter if you are in uniformed services, living overseas OR a spouse or dependent 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.

Voting 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, you may 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. You can request an Alternative Ballot is available by:

Contacting your county board of elections
By downloading the Alternative Ballot Form
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.

Early Voting

Pennsylvania does not have early voting. If you meet any of the below requirements you may vote before Election Day through an Absentee Ballot. Please see the “Absentee Ballot Process” question above for more information on voting Absentee Ballots.

Absentee Ballot requirements:

  • 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

Vote by Mail (Absentee)

Absentee ballot rules

Pennsylvania voters have different options to vote by mail including absentee and mail-in ballot. However, all registered voters can vote with a mail-in ballot. For a detailed description of the rules for each, please view Pennsylvania’s page on absentee ballots.

You may vote by absentee ballot in Pennsylvania if:

  • you are in the military service of the United States (military voters do not need to be registered to vote to vote by absentee ballot, and they do not need to be overseas or even outside of Pennsylvania)
  • you are a spouse or dependent of someone in the military, and you expect on Election Day to be absent from the Commonwealth or the municipality of residence during the entire period in which the polling places are open for voting (7:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M).
  • you are a member of the Merchant Marine (or a spouse or dependent) and you expect on Election Day to be absent from the Commonwealth or the municipality of residence during the entire period in which the polling places are open for voting (7:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M).
  • you are a member of a religious or welfare group attached to and serving with the armed forces (or a spouse or dependent) and you expect on Election Day to be absent from the Commonwealth or the municipality of residence during the entire period in which the polling places are open for voting (7:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M).
  • you expect that your occupation or duties (including leaves of absence for teaching, vacations, and sabbatical leaves) will cause you to be away from your municipality on Election Day.  This also applies to spouses and dependents.
  • you are a war veteran who is bedridden or hospitalized due to illness or physical disability and therefore unable to vote in person (note: people who fall in this group can vote by absentee ballot even if they are not already registered).
  • you are ill or physically disabled and therefore unable to go to a polling place or operate a voting machine.
  • you are employed by the Commonwealth or the Federal Government and your duties require you to be absent from the Commonwealth or the municipality of your residence on Election Day. This also applies to spouses and dependents.
  • you are employed by the county and you expect that your Election Day duties will prevent you from voting.
  • you will be observing a religious holiday and will be unable to vote.

How to get Absentee ballot

  1. Use our Absentee Ballot Form below to prepare your application.
  2. Sign and date the form. This is very important!
  3. Return your completed application to your Local Election Office as soon as possible. We’ll provide the mailing address for you.
  4. All Local Election Offices will accept mailed or hand-delivered forms. If it’s close to the deadline, call and see if your Local Election Office will let you fax or email the application.
  5. Make sure your application is received by the deadline. Your application must actually arrive by this time — simply being postmarked by the deadline is insufficient.
  6. Please contact your Local Election Office if you have any further questions about the exact process.

What to do next

  1. Once you receive the ballot, carefully read and follow the instructions.
  2. Sign and date where indicated.
  3. Make sure to put your completed ballot in the secrecy envelope.
  4. Mail your voted ballot back to the address indicated on the return envelope.
  5. Your voted ballot must arrive by the deadline or it will not be counted.

Absentee ballot application deadline

  • In Person: 7 days before Election Day.
  • By Mail: 7 days before Election Day.
  • Online: 7 days before Election Day.

Absentee ballot submission deadline

  • Received by 8pm on Election Day.

Absentee Ballot (form)

Elections Alert (Form)

Pollling Information

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.

Polling Place Hours

The polling places are open from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm.

Poll Worker Information

In order to be a poll worker in Pennsylvania, you must be:

  • Registered to vote in Pennsylvania
  • 18 years old
  • A resident of election district for the 30 days before the election.
  • A Student enrolled in a high school, 17 years old, may be appointed with written permission from a parent, guardian or school principal

To sign up, contact your local board of elections.

Redistricting

Source: Wikipedia

The 2021 Legislative Reapportionment Commission consisted of the following members after the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania appointed a Chairman to break a deadlock of the legislative leaders.[38]

 
MemberTitle
Mark NordenbergChairman
Kim WardSenate Republican Leader
Jay CostaSenate Democratic Leader
Kerry BenninghoffHouse Republican Leader
Joanna McClintonHouse Democratic Leader

2021 was the first time a woman (Ward and McClinton) and a person of color (McClinton) had ever served on the LRC, and the first time a member (Costa) had served on two consecutive commissions. Chariman Nordenberg currently serves as Chair of Pitt’s Institute of Politics and Director of its Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law & Public Policy and holds the special faculty rank of Distinguished Service Professor of Law. He is a registered Democrat, effectively making the LRC a 3-2 Democrat majority.[39]

Redistricting process[edit]

On August 24, 2021, the Legislative Reapportionment Commission voted 3–2 to end prison gerrymandering by counting incarcerated state prisoners as residing in the districts where they originally lived, as opposed to where they’re incarcerated.[40] However, on September 21, the effort was scaled back slightly when the LRC voted 3–2 to carve out an exception for those prisoners serving sentences that will end after the 2030 Census.[41]

On October 25, 2021, the LRC approved the 2020 census data and voted to go ahead with the redistricting process.[42] This officially began the 90-day period allotted to the commission to introduce a preliminary map. The commission also invited citizens to submit their own proposed maps for consideration through software like Dave’s Redistricting and DistrictBuilder.

The LRC held a meeting on December 16, 2021, where it voted 5–0 on a proposed State Senate map, and 3–2 on a proposed State House map.[44][45] Republican state officials objected to what they perceived to be gerrymandering favoring Democrats, particularly in and around the collar counties of Philadelphia.  Public comment was received through January 18, 2022 for final consideration of the State House map.

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